While there is so much information on the internet about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), I always like to provide my clients with reliable and accurate information taken from reputable websites. The Center for Disease and Control (CDC) has provided us with useful information on stress management. This information pertains not only to adults, but also parents, caregivers, healthcare providers, first responders, and those most at risk of contracting COVID-19. Here are some general guidelines for us to remember while managing our stress levels. Please know that if any of these stress symptoms interfere with your quality of life, relationships, work, or sleep you should consider contacting your doctor or a mental health professional.
Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situationsHow you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.
People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include
Ways to cope with stress
Know the facts to help reduce stressSharing the facts about COVID-19. Understanding the 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 make a connection with them.
Take care of your mental health. Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row. People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. Additional information can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Preparednessexternal icon page.
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. Watch for behavior changes in your child. Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way.
Some common changes to watch for include:
Ways to support your child:
Related: Caring for Children and Helping Children Cope
For people at higher risk for serious illness:
People at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults, and people with underlying health conditions are also at increased risk of stress due to COVID-19. Special considerations include:
Common reactions to COVID-19
Support your loved ones:
Check in with your loved ones often. Virtual communication can help you and your loved ones feel less lonely and isolated. Consider connecting with loved ones by:
Help keep your loved ones safe.
Take care of your own emotional health.
Caring for a loved one can take an emotional toll, especially during an outbreak like COVID-19. There are ways to support yourself. Stay home if you are sick. Do not visit family or friends who are at greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Use virtual communication to keep in touch to support your loved one and keep them safe.
What health care providers can do:
What communities can do:
Community preparedness planning for COVID-19 should include older adults and people with disabilities, and the organizations that support them in their communities, to ensure their needs are taken into consideration.
For people coming out of quarantine:
It can be stressful to be separated from others if a healthcare provider thinks you may have been exposed to COVID-19, even if you do not get sick. Everyone feels differently after coming out of quarantine.
Emotional reactions to coming out of quarantine may include:
Responding to COVID-19 can take an emotional toll on you, and you may experience secondary traumatic stress. Secondary traumatic stress is stress reactions and symptoms resulting from exposure to another individual’s traumatic experiences, rather than from exposure directly to a traumatic event.
There are things you can do to reduce secondary traumatic stress reactions:
Get more information about stress management for first responders from the Disaster Technical Assistance Centerexternal icon (SAMHSA).
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