Coping with COVID-19: Tips to reduce stress

Dealing with stress during the COVID-19 outbreak can be challenging. Read below for some helpful tips on how to cope.

Stressful situations
Everyone reacts to situations differently. The constant coverage and focus on COVID-19 in our media and social environments can bring out some stressful feelings in ourselves and others. According to the CDC, the emotional impact of an emergency on a person can depend on the person’s characteristics and experiences, the social and economic circumstances of the person and their community, and availability of local resources.

As in many crises, some reactions to this situation include:

  • Fear and worry about your own health status and that of your loved ones who may have been exposed to COVID-19
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

Things you can do to support yourself:

  • Avoid excessive exposure to media coverage of COVID-19.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do some other activities you enjoy to return to your normal life.
  • Connect with others. Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships.
  • Maintain a sense of hope and positive thinking.

Finding healthy ways to cope with these feelings and getting help when you need it can help you, your family and your community recover. Take care of yourself and each other and know when and how to seek help.

The CDC recommends you call your health care provider if stress reactions interfere with your daily activities for several days in a row. The CDC also instructs those with preexisting mental health conditions to continue with their treatment plans during crises such as COVID-19 and to monitor for any new symptoms.

More information
For more information on tips to cope with stress, visit the CDC’s resource here.

Additional information on mental health care can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website.

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
  • People with deafness or hearing loss can use their preferred relay service to call 1-800-985-5990.