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Coping with Stress

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The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.

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.
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.
People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include:
  • People 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).

People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms.

Things everyone can do for self-care:
  • 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. 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. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

Encourage staff to call or visit their healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of daily activities.

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