COVID-19 and Wellness
The current COVID-19 pandemic has without a doubt had a major effect on our lives with many individuals reporting that they are facing challenges that have been stressful, overwhelming and have at times caused strong emotions.
While we know that such public health actions as social distancing and staying away from others not already in our households are necessary to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, these actions can still make us feel isolated, lonely and can increase stress and anxiety. Learning to cope with the stress we feel in a healthy way will enable us to both get through this pandemic and care for ourselves and our loved ones.
In order to cope with the stress that you’re feeling, you should first be aware of how stress manifests and affects you. Stress can cause the following:
- Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, worry, numbness or frustration
- Changes in appetite, energy, desires and interests
- Difficult concentrating and making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping
- 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
While it is natural to feel stress, anxiety, worry and grief during this pandemic, as with any other instance, too much stress can be detrimental. In this section, we provide many ways that you can help yourself, your loved ones and your community manage stress and anxiety associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Healthy Ways to Cope with stress
- Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories
- While it is important to stay up to date with any changes associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, being too plugged in to the news and always hearing about the pandemic can be upsetting.
- What you can do instead is to set limits on how much time and how much news you consume during the day
- You can achieve this by setting aside times during the day when you totally and completely disconnect from your phone, tv or computer screen
- Take care of your body
- When you’re too stressed and anxious, your entire body is wound up in preparation for the worst, doing the following can help reduce the amount of stress you feel while taking care of your body:
- Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals
- Purchase shelf-stable and frozen foods as these will keep longer and are easy to incorporate into recipes
- Take inventory of the items in your kitchen and get creative with cooking. Choose a recipe site where you can plug in ingredients you have on hand and see what suggestions pop up.
Some websites to try out include:
Ways to stay healthy under COVID-19
- Exercise regularly
- Get plenty of sleep
- Avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco and substance use
- Continue with routine preventive measures including cancer screenings and vaccinations as recommended by your doctor
- Get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you’re able to
- Work well enough from home
- Working from home may be new to you and could have its own unforeseen challenges, especially if you have children.
- When working from home, don’t expect to have the same type of productivity that you had in the office. Recognize that we are all distracted and needing to cope with a different daily life now
- So, reduce your goals for typical work that is not urgent, if possible and see below for recommendations on how to stay focused and productive during work hours
- Confine your workspace to a specific clear area; this will allow you keep your job from intruding on your personal needs and will allow you to associate productivity and work with a particular space in your home
- Control sound; use noise cancelling headphones or use music or fans to create white noise
- End the workday with clear boundaries; when your work day is over, put away all electronic devices and tool associate with work and focus on doing other more personal things with the remaining hours of the day
- Have a morning or evening check-in with a co-worker or supervisor; doing this can help to reduce social isolation while providing structure to your day and use video calls when you can, as seeing the faces of others can provide more feelings of being socially connected than just simply talking.
- Make time to unwind
- Although most of us are working from home now and the separation between home and work have been severely blurred, taking time to unwind is necessary and can help you recenter yourself during this time.
- Whenever possible, try to do some of the activities that you enjoy. These could include: watching Netflix with friends using Netflix party, cooking, reading, listening to music, knitting…etc.
- Connect with others
- Maintaining connections with others, especially if you live alone, can help reduce feelings of isolation and make it easier to get through the day
- Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how are you feeling
- Connect with your community or faith-based organizations
- While social distancing measures are in place, try to connect with your community online, through social media or by phone or mail.
For resources and social support services, visit the following links from the CDC below:
- Food and Food System Resources during COVID-19 pandemic
- Disaster Financial Assistance with Food, Housing and Bills
- Coronavirus Resources for Renters
- US Department of Labor Coronavirus Resources
If you are in a crisis, get immediate help:
- 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English
- 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish
- Lifeline Crisis Chat
- Call or text 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453)
- 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
- Online chat
- 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Crisis Chat
- Text: 8388255
- Call or Text: 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish)