March 18th, 2021 – The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major effect on our lives. Many of us are facing challenges that can be stressful, overwhelming, and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Public health actions, such as social distancing, are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but they can make us feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety. Learning to cope with stress in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about, and those around you become more resilient.
It is natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief and worry during the COVID_19 pandemic. Below are ways that you can help yourself, others, and your community manage stress.
Stress can cause the following:
- Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, worry, numbness or frustration
- Changes to appetite, energy, desires and interests
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping or nightmares
- Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems and skin rashes
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Worsening of mental health conditions
- Increased use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances
Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. It’s good to be informed, but hearing about the pandemic constantly can be upsetting. Consider limiting news to just a couple times a day and disconnecting from phone, TV, and computer screens for a while.
- Take care of your body.
- Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals
- Exercise regularly
- Get plenty of sleep
- Avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco and substance use
- Continue with routine preventative measures (such as vaccinations, cancer screenings, etc.) as recommended by your healthcare provider
- 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
- Connect with your community or faith-based organizations, while social distancing measures are in place, try connecting online, through social media, or by phone or mail.
Helping others copeIf you are struggling to cope, there are many ways to get help. Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row. During times of extreme stress, people may have thoughts of suicide. Suicide is preventable and help is available.
Mental Health and CrisisIf you are struggling to cope, there are many ways to get help. Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row. During times of extreme stress, people may have thoughts of suicide. Suicide is preventable and help is available.
If you are in Crisis, seek help immediately through the resources below:
- Call 911
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text GOT5 to 741741
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
- NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence: call: 1-800-942-6906, text 1-844-997-2121 or chat with one of their staffed professionals online at https://opdv.ny.gov/
- National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4ACHILD (1-800-422-4453)
- NYS Child Protective Services: 1-800-342-3720 or visit https://ocfs.ny.gov/programs/cps/
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), or visit https://www.nyscasa.org/ for a list resources
- Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text 8388255