Stress and Coping, What Can I Do?

Stress and Coping, What I Can Do?

By Dr. Phyllis Ingham, EdD, MEd, MLS(ASCP)cmAHI(AMT)

The outbreak and now pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is most likely stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about everything happening can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in us all. Learning how to cope with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Your Stress Response

The CDC states the following:

How individuals respond to this pandemic can depend on background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community in which you live.

“People who may exhibit a stronger stress response during a crisis include:

  • Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19
  • Children and teens
  • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, first responders, doctors and all the health care team.

Stress induced reactions of 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”

(above cited from CDC website)

Putting Yourself First

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. Start with “you” and you will discover so much more to give to others.

Develop Your Self-Care Plan: Things you can do to support yourself

Self-care isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy. Your self-care plan will need to be customized to your needs. Start today thinking and planning your personal plan.

Unplug Occasionally, Step Away from the News!

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting. Make it a habit to listen to a news update only once daily.

Make Time to Move

  • 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.
  • Exercise is a vital stress reliever. As you find yourself working from home and struggling to make time for exercise, schedule it into your day. You tube channels offer many streaming workouts to keep you motivated and moving.
  • If you can get outdoors, venture outside for some fresh air. A quick walk or short hike and help boost your mood and reinforce some degree of normalcy in your day-to-day life.

Take Time for Meditation and Emotional Healthcare

  • Make time to unwind. It’s important to have healthy coping skills to deal with anxiety, sadness, and anger.
  • Quiet moments of meditation and relaxation are a must.
  • Listen to your favorite uplifting music.
  • Try to do some other activities you enjoy.

Stay Connected

  • Connect with others. Staying connected as we all take part in “social distancing” is important.
  • Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Facetime your friends, call your parents, start a group text.

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will”. Mahatma Gandhi

We will get through this!