The growing number of victims of corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can be stressful for you. Fear and anxiety can cause strong emotions in adults and children. Learning to cope with stress will make you, your loved ones and your community stronger.
What is the good answer? How you respond may depend on your background, things that set you apart from others, and the community in which you live.
People who can react more strongly to the stress of a crisis are:
- Seniors and people with chronic conditions who are at higher risk for COVID-19
- Children and adolescents
- People on the frontline during this crisis, such as doctors and other health care providers, or first responders
- People with mental health problems, including substance abuse problems
Stress can include:
- Fear and concern for your own health and that of your loved ones
- Loss of perspective and lack of motivation
- Changes in sleep or eating habits
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health conditions
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs
Taking care of yourself and your friends can help reduce stress
What you can do:
- Avoid watching TV, following social media, unfounded news, or listening to news. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be overwhelming.
- Take care of your body. Take a deep breath, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get lots of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Take the time to relax. Try to do other activities that you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk to your loved ones about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Reduce stress for you and your loved ones
For the parents
Children respond in part to what they see of the adults around them. When parents and teachers treat COVID-19 with calm and confidence, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to those around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.
Some changes to watch for such as:
- A change in eating or sleeping habits
- Irritability and strange behavior in adolescents
- Difficulty concentrating
- Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
- Unexplained headache or body pain
- Use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs
There are many things you can do to support your child *
- Take the time to talk to your child or teenager about the epidemic.
- Answer the questions in a way that your child or adolescent can understand.
- Reassure your child or adolescent that he is safe.
- Let them know that everything is fine if they feel upset.
- Share with them how you manage your own stress so that they learn how to handle your situation.
- Limit your family’s exposure to media coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and may be afraid of something they do not understand.
- Try to follow regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
- Be a role model. Take breaks, get lots of sleep, exercise and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.