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​Coping With Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The outbreak of coronavirus disease is stressful for all of us. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions like depression, frustration and stress in adults and in children.

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones

  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns

  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating

  • Worsening of chronic health problems

  • Worsening of mental health conditions

  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

Remember, everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.

People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include:

  • Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19

  • Children and teens

  • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors, other health care providers, and first responders

  • People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use

Some of the key points to reduce the degree of distress include:

1. Practice deep breathing and mindfulness

2. Pick on a hobby to shift your mind towards something you enjoy

3. Exercise for some time each day

4. Eat power foods to boost your immunity

5. Maintain a schedule, keep busy and sleep for 6-8 hours every night

6. Limit yourself to facts and refrain from over-watching the news

7. Tell yourself something that you know is certain, no matter how small

In addition, these are some ways to cope with stress:

  1. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.

  2. Take care of your body.

  3. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.

  4. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.

  5. Exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep.

  6. Avoid alcohol and drugs.

Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.

Stay Safe!

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