The coronavirus disease pandemic (COVID-19) can be stressful for people. The fear and anxiety regarding a new disease and what could happen can be overwhelming and generate strong emotions in both adults and children. Public health measures, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and may increase stress and anxiety. However, these measures are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Dealing with stress in a healthy way will strengthen you and strengthen your loved ones and your community during Pandemic.
Stress during the outbreak of an infectious disease can in certain cases include reactions such as:
- Fear and concern about your health and the health of your loved ones, your financial or work situation, or the loss of support services on which you depend.
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns.
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
- Aggravation of chronic health problems.
- Aggravation of mental health problems.
- Greater consumption of tobacco and/or alcohol and other substances.
Healthy alternatives to cope with stress
- Know what to do if you feel sick and are concerned about COVID-19. Contact a health professional before self-medicating to treat COVID-19.
- Know where and how to access treatment and other resources and support services, such as counseling or therapy (in person or through telehealth services).
- Take breaks and stop watching, reading, or listening to the news. This includes social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can affect you.
- Take time to relax. Try to do other activities that you enjoy.
- Communicate with other people. Talk to people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Connect with your faith and community organizations. While social distancing measures have been implemented, consider connecting online, through social media, by phone, or by mail.
- Take care of your mental health. Mental health is an important part of well-being and overall health. It affects us in the way we think, feel, and act. It also affects how we manage stress, interacts with others, and make decisions during an emergency. People with pre-existing mental health problems or substance use disorders can be especially vulnerable in an emergency. Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder are mental health conditions that affect a person’s way of thinking, feeling, and behaving in a way that influences their ability to relate and perform on a daily basis. These conditions can be situational (short-term) or chronic (long-term). People with pre-existing mental health problems should continue treatment and be on the lookout for new or worsening symptoms.
Take care of yourself and your community
Taking care of family and friends can be a stress reliever, but you have to keep a balance and you shouldn’t forget to take care of yourself. Helping others cope with stress, such as providing social support, can also help strengthen their community. In times of greater social distancing, people can continue to maintain social contacts and take care of their mental health. Phone calls or video conferences can help you and help your loved ones feel socially connected, less lonely, or less isolated.