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 emergency situation, 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
- Worsening of mental health conditions
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
How 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 and may need special attention include:
- Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19
- Children and teens
- People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors, other health care providers, and first responders
- People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use
Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.
Ways to cope with stress:
- 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
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals
- Exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep
- 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.
These are trying times for so many and staying connected to coronavirus-related information and help that is available can be challenging – information is changing rapidly, families and businesses are struggling, and some of the traditional services are not operating. For the most up-to-date information on the State of Connecticut’s response, visit www.ct.gov/coronavirus. If you need help navigating available assistance, connecting with community-based programs, and just generally finding help, link to the 2-1-1 guide to find a list of topics and resources that may be able to help: https://uwc.211ct.org/covid19resources/
If you are in a position to help others, that assistance is needed now more than ever. There is a critical need for blood donations, monetary contributions, volunteers at food programs, and more. Please visit our Volunteers & Donations topic for more information on how to volunteer or contribute. There is also an urgent need for medical-related items like N95 respirators, masks, gloves, and more. If you have personal protective equipment you can donate, please provide that information at www.211ct.org/DonationsCOVID19.
If researching and navigating all of this online is too much, pick up the phone and talk to one of the 2-1-1 contact specialists. Dial 2-1-1 (or 1-800-203-1224) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and press option ‘5’ to talk to someone who can help.
SOURCES: United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Connecticut United Way