Written By: Kelsey Ogletree

The news cycle the past few weeks has been nearly non-stop about coronavirus (COVID-19), and it seems like the virus is the only thing people are talking about right now. The global outbreak of this virus, and the uncertainty behind how it’s being spread, is disruptive and frightening and can lead to feelings that the world is less secure or somehow out of control. On top of that, experts promoting “social distancing” — or maintaining a bubble of personal space to help stop the spread of COVID-19 — feels threatening, at the very least, for the meetings and events world that thrives on face-to-face connections.

During this time of feeling powerless, the one thing you can control is your own actions and reactions. It’s possible to maintain a sense of wellness in your own life and handle news calmly and with a level head without feeling anxious about things you cannot control. We spoke with Dana Dorfman, a psychotherapist in New York, who offered these four tips for mitigating your anxiety over coronavirus.

Set parameters for the times that you’re going to take in information.

Even though things are changing moment to moment surrounding the coronavirus, there is only so much news one person can take in during a day. Set boundaries for yourself by deciding what times you’re going to read, watch or listen to the news — perhaps in the morning and then at dinner time — and then don’t tune in again until the following day.

Prioritize sleep.

If you’re not staying up late watching the news, you can get to bed earlier. Studies show you’re better able to problem solve when you’re well-rested, and when you’re not constantly inundated with new information, you have more time to manage your own processing of situations. Taking care of yourself — physically and emotionally — will equip you to make better decisions and come up with more creative solutions to problems that coronavirus is causing within your events.

Take things from day today.

Anxiety is all about anticipating the future. Many times, what you’re anticipating for the future is not necessarily accurate, because anxiety — instead of facts — is fueling those feelings. The more you can stay in the moment and be grounded in what’s happening here and now, the better your decisions will be.

Have compassion and patience. 

When we become anxious, there’s a tendency to become more short-tempered and blame others. No matter what is happening with your events during this time, it’s likely people have criticized the way you’re dealing with the situation — but this is happening to everyone in the industry. Sure, every person out there (attendee, stakeholder or bystander) might have a different perspective on what the solution should be, but practicing patience and having trust in people who are making these big decisions (including trust in yourself and your teams!) is important. The meetings and events world has a common enemy in coronavirus right now, but we will get through it better with support from one another as opposed to criticizing and perpetuating anxiety.