How to get free access to meditation app, Headspace, amid coronavirus

With masses of people stuck at home amid coronavirus, the popular meditation and mindfulness app, Headspace, is offering free content to help manage stress and anxiety.

"There are a lot of unknowns in the world right now," the company said on its website. "To help support you through this time of crisis, we're offering some meditations you can listen to anytime."

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The collection, called “Weathering The Storm,” is free for everyone.

“It includes meditations, sleep, and movement exercises to help you out, however you’re feeling,” Headspace wrote. “It’s our small way of helping you find some space and kindness for yourself and those around you.”

The company is also providing content geared specifically toward health care workers, educators and employers who want to help remote employees.

“It’s our small way of helping you and your workplace approach every day with compassion and understanding, as you look to keep your business as healthy and happy as possible,” Headspace wrote.

All the content can be accessed on Headspace's website or on its app.

While the emotional impact of an emergency varies for different individuals, the CDC notes that people with preexisting mental health conditions should continue regular treatment plans, as well as being conscious of new symptoms that arise.

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"Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children," the CDC's website states.

Psychologist Elissa Epel, who works at the University of California, San Francisco, also shared some tips for navigating coronavirus-related stress, panic and anxiety.

"While some anxiety helps us cope, extreme anxiety can become coronavirus panic. When we are in a panic state, we suffer, we stress out our children, we are more likely to make mistakes and engage in irrational decisions and behavior,” she says.

Additionally, the CDC recommends the following measure to look out for your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak

  • Stay informed, but avoid over-saturating yourself with coverage of the virus
  • Take deep breaths and try to meditate
  • When you can, eat healthy foods and get regular exercise
  • Take time to unwind "and remind yourself that strong feelings fade"
  • Take breaks from consuming coverage
  • Connect with others about what you are feeling
  • Maintain healthy relationships with friends or family members
  • Try to maintain a sense of positive thinking

CDC recommends preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

• CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

• If you are concerned you might have the coronavirus, call your healthcare provider before going to a hospital or clinic. In mild cases, your doctor might give you advice on how to treat symptoms at home without seeing you in person, which would reduce the number of people you expose. But in more severe cases an urgent care center or hospital would benefit from advance warning because they can prepare for your arrival. For example, they may want you to enter a special entrance, so you don't expose others.

Source: CDC