Tips on how to manage coronavirus stress

Collective stressors about the virus can cause psychological distress in many.

Many of us are walking around with knots in our stomachs from the COVID-19 (coronavirus) fears that surround us. Anxiety, lack of sleep, nervousness seems to be the order of the day for many. For folks north of age 65, medical experts are constantly warning of the risk the virus poses. On top of it all, early data shows that African Americans are more likely to die from the virus than their white counterparts. These collective stressors about the virus can cause psychological distress in many.

Even in the face of this viral crisis, there are things you can do to manage your levels of fear and anxiety.

  1. Steer clear of untrustworthy news sources. If you want up-to-the-minute facts about COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and your town’s local public health authorities.

2. Don’t spend your day monitoring news reports as this can turn into a compulsive habit that can fuel your angst. Limit yourself to one news source per day and limit your consumption of it (maybe 30 minutes in the morning or evening).

3. If news reports are beginning to overwhelm you, ask a friend or relative to give you a few news snippets from the day.

4. Don’t worry about the things you have no control over, and just think about how to limit your personal risk by following the health advisories.

5. Stay connected to friends and family via phone or video chats; doing so can reduce anxiety and depression. Try to steer conversations away from the all-consuming virus chats and focus more on pleasant topics.

6. Stay far away from those negative folks in your life who only want to ramp up your fears about the virus.

7. Don’t neglect YOU! Make sure that you are eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising. Try meditation, which is thought to calm nervous energy. Get back into reading books, play board games, cards, video games. How about trying out a new recipe, YouTube has lots of them.

8. Don’t self-medicate. Don’t rely on pills or liquor to soothe your mental state. If you tended to overdo drinking in the best of times, you might not want to tempt fate during this time.

9. Be a source of support for others. If you have friends or family who need to hear that voice of reason during this time, then be there for them. Talking someone else of a ledge will help you feel better about you. Be that uplifting spirit, that go-to person who can help someone else better cope with what’s going on.

10. Donate to a local food bank. Food banks across the country need supplies. If you have it to give, please don’t hesitate. Unemployment is at an all-time high now, and many folks are in dire need of something to eat.