Guidance from the CDC

Everyone Reacts Differently to Stressful Situations

How you respond to the COVID-19 pandemic can depend on your background, your social support from family or friends, your financial situation, your health and emotional background, the community you live in, and many other factors. The changes that can happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ways we try to contain the spread of the virus can affect anyone.

People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include:

  • People who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (for example, older people and people with underlying health conditions).
  • Children and teens.
  • People caring for family members or loved ones.
  • Frontline workers such as health care providers and first responders, retail clerks, and others. 
  • Essential workers who work in the food industry. 
  • People who have existing mental health conditions. 
  • People who use substances or have a substance use disorder.
  • People who have lost their jobs, had their work hours reduced, or had other major changes in their employment.
  • People who have disabilities or developmental delay. 
  • People who are socially isolated from others, including people who live alone, and people in rural or frontier areas.
  • People in some racial and ethinic minority groups. 
  • People who do not have access to information in their primary language.
  • People experiencing homelessness.
  • People who live in congregate (group) settings.

Take Care of Yourself and Your Community

Taking care of your friends and your family can be a stress reliever, but it should be balanced with care for yourself. Helping others cope with their stress, such as by providing social support, can also make your community stronger. During times of increased social distancing, people can still maintain social connections and care for their mental health. Virtual communication (like phones or video chats) can help you and your loved ones feel less lonely and isolated.

Healthy Ways to Cope With Stress

  • Know what to do if you are sick and are concerned about COVID-19. Contact a health professional before you start any self-treatment for COVID-19.
  • Know where and how to get treatment and other support services and resources, including couinseling or therapy (in person or through telehealth services). 
  • Take care of your emotional health. Taking care of your emotional health will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protects yourself and your family. 
  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk wtih people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations. While social distancing measures are in place, consider connecting online, through social media, or by phone or mail.

Know the Facts to Help Reduce Stress

Knowing the facts about COVID-19 and stopping the spread of rumors can help reduce stress and stigma. Understanding the risk to yourself and people you care about can help you connect with others and make an outbreak less stressful.

Other helpful resources can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html