APRIL 23, 2020: Some worry is normal and can be useful because it can help you effectively prepare for what lies ahead. Worrying too much can lead to a prolonged, heightened alert status, staying preoccupied and fixated.
People react differently to stressful situations. The CDC says that those who respond more strongly to stress during a crisis may find themselves with:
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty concentrating at work
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs
Some coping tips for individuals who may feel worried or panicked
- Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness means paying attention in the present, without judgement. When we observe our thoughts, choices and behaviors more objectively, we can manage them more effectively.
- Problem solving and effective planning can be productive. Worrying is not. Periodically check in with work, personal and family commitments and prepare accordingly.
- Stay informed while remaining calm. Set specific times to check news updates. Tune in to other topics of conversation and activities to help mitigate the tendency to worry too much about things we can’t control. Find good, solid data, not false or exaggerated information.
Take care of yourself and your community
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.
- 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.
- Take care of your body.
Need help? Know someone who does?
If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others:
- Call 911
- Visit the Disaster Distress Helpline call 1-800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746
- Visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline call 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224
Excerpts from Advocate Aurora Health blogs and CDC.