Managing Stress Over COVID-19
Here are some tips for coping with the current issues surrounding COVID-19.
Recovered from the CDC on 3/16/2020
Stress and Coping
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 in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.
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
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. 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.
Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
Reduce stress in yourself and others
Sharing the facts about COVID-19 and understanding the actual risk to yourself and people you care about can make an outbreak less stressful. 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 bed wetting)
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 okay 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.