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How to Manage COVID-19 Stress and Anxiety

Coping in uncertain times

During this time of fear and uncertainty our first response is to stress and worry.

Remember…

This is a natural response.

Below you will find some strategies and techniques to help you get through this challenging time.

It is OK to not be OK

First, it is OK to state openly that you are scared. This is unchartered territory.

When you begin to feel anxious, take a moment to re-focus. Try a simple statement like:

“I need to let go of things I cannot control.”

Continue repeating this – or your own statement that gives you peace – until the feeling of anxiety decreases.

Let’s know the facts

Knowledge is empowering.

Information helps combat unhealthy “what ifs.”

Facts allow us to create a plan.

Once we feel we can control even a small portion of our lives, it can start to put us at ease. The most recent and accurate information is provided by the CDC and your local health authorities.

Limit television and social media

The constant stream of information related to COVID-19 can cause us to start feeling more anxious and upset.

Limit the exposure to the news/social media by setting a time limit per day to listen to the updates.

This will give you additional time to process the thoughts you have and not feel as overwhelmed.

Connect with others

Social distancing and shelter in place orders can create a feeling of isolation. 55% of communication is visual and body language.

  • Use face time and other electronic resources to connect with others.
  • Reach out to others who may need support.
  • Stay connected with family, friends, and other members of your support structure.

Be mindful

Be kind to yourself!

  • Give yourself time during the day to be mindful of clearing your thoughts and feelings.
  • Try a quick 7-8-7 breathing technique you can use anywhere. Count to 7 while exhaling, inhale while counting to 8, then exhale while counting to 7 again.
  • If you want further relaxation, use visual imagery while breathing. Picture your favorite vacation spot.

Activity

Create structure and a schedule for yourself and your family.

Focus on those items that you may have “put off” until you had more time. Examples include:

  • finishing that book you’ve been wanting to read
  • working in the yard
  • planting flowers
  • crocheting
  • catching up on house work
  • or just sitting on the couch to catch episodes of your favorite shows

Just because you’re inside doesn’t mean you can’t exercise.

Nutrition

Be aware of your eating habits. This can impact your mood.

  • Avoid excessive intake of caffeine, alcohol and unhealthy foods.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.

Talking to your child

Be honest. Create an open and supportive environment where children know they can ask questions.

Use words and concepts children can understand. Be prepared to repeat information and explanations – several times if necessary.

Children learn from watching their parents and teachers. How you respond will impact how they will respond.

Last but not least

Please remember to be kind, be patient, show some grace to those around you. We are all in this together.


Looking for more than tips?

Call the Respond helpline – any day, any time – at 1-800-366-1132.

No matter what you’ve done or what life’s done to you, you aren’t alone.

We’re here to listen.