The outbreak of COVID-19 may be stressful for many people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be heightened during this time, and might cause overwhelming or strong emotions in adults and children. Check out these tips from the CDC, for managing your anxiety during the coronavirus crisis.
Stress and Coping
It’s important to remember everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. You might respond to the COVID-19 outbreak differently from your friends, family, significant other, and even from your community.
According to the CDC 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 COVID-19
- Children and teens
- People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders
- People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use
The stress of a crisis can cause a number of different reactions. During this time you or your loved ones may experience the following:
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns (over-eating, over-sleeping, or under eating and under sleeping are common)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other 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.
Things you can do to support yourself
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body. Especially during social distancing and self-isolation, it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This means eating healthy well-balanced meals, drinking plenty of water, exercising and getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep.
- Make time to unwind. Try picking up a new hobby or doing a fun activity!
- Connect with others. Remember to check in with family and friends, and if you are feeling anxious, reach out to someone you trust to work talk about your anxiety.
Reduce stress in yourself and others:
When you share accurate information about COVID-19 you can help make people feel less stressed and allow you to connect with them.
Children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.
Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for include
- Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
- Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)
- Excessive worry or sadness
- Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
- Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
- Poor school performance or avoiding school
- Difficulty with attention and concentration
- Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
- Unexplained headaches or body pain
- Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
There are many things you can do to support your child
- Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
- Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
- Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
- Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
- Be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.
Listen: How To Stay Busy And Manage Anxiety
Working from home. Homeschooling your kids. Financial uncertainty. Quarantine. Social distancing. These are just some of the stressful and sometimes overwhelming situations that people are handling in the time of the COVID-19.
To help you manage, NPR curated a playlist of podcast episodes from across public radio that cover everything from tips to help you keep busy to recommendations on how to stay entertained — cooking tips, music recommendations, a streaming guide and more.
Remember You Have A Team Here For You
Platte River Medical Clinic is here for you! If you anxious about visiting our clinic, due to potential exposure, we are offering online visits with a provider from the comfort of your home.
If you think you have COVID-19, or if you are experiencing symptoms associated with it, call 303-659-7600 or schedule an online provider, to speak with a provider. If we suspect a potential case of COVID-19, we will ask you visit one of our partners, Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine’s, drive-up testing sites.
Sources: npr.org, cdc.gov