Coping Tips for COVID-19 Anxiety as Alarm Increases

We approach the 2020 holiday season, and the news steadily worsens about COVID-19 and community spread. What do you do with the constant stress that accompanies decisions about how to safely live through a pandemic?

“People experience or react to stress in different ways,” said Amber Olson, LCSW, director of Behavioral Therapy Services at Memorial Behavioral Health (MBH). “For some it can affect sleep and eating patterns; for others it may result in worsening mental or physical health problems.”

Managing the emotional roller-coaster has never been more important. Here are some key coping tips for how to deal with anxiety and stress in a healthy way.

  • Step away from social media and 24-hour news. If the constant cycle of news and information causes stress, turn it off. Delete apps or turn off your phone to give your mind a time to recharge and refresh.
  • Pay attention to reliable sources. Read information about COVID-19 from reliable sources including World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your local public health department or the Memorial Health System COVID-19 information page.
  • Focus on what you can control. You can’t solve the world’s problems, but you can control what’s happening in your own life. Take care of your family by encouraging handwashing, mask usage and social distancing.
  • Practice self-care. Set a regular sleep cycle, engage in activities that make you feel mentally and physically healthy and eat a nutritious diet. Schedule time for a book, a comedy on a streaming service or a walk outside bundled up with your favorite canine.
  • Ask for help. If you’re struggling and your mental health is impacted by stress, seek help from others. A licensed mental health professional can help you to learn and develop coping mechanisms to cope with stress.

Need to talk?

MBH offers telehealth and phone appointments with their patients. In addition, MBH has established an emotional support hotline, available at 217-588-5509, to provide support to individuals who are experiencing anxiety or stress, even if they are not MBH patients.

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