woman with mask

As people navigate coping with COVID-19, there is potential for increased stress, anxiety and uncertainty. While the unknown can be concerning, Serina Neumann, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences shares simple ways to manage your health, quality of life and well-being — and to help you do the same for those you care for. 

Sustain a Healthy Mindset

It’s important to focus on what you can do and be realistic with your concerns, Dr. Neumann says, and keeping a daily gratitude journal can help. “Focusing on the meaningful reasons for distancing yourself from others to protect our community,” she says, “can also help reduce stress levels.”

She also recommends taking frequent breaks. One way to do that is with mindfulness meditation and relaxation, which can improve your energy, reduce anxiety and help you focus. “Headspace is one of the main meditation apps available,” Dr. Neumann says. “Healthcare professionals can use it free right now to help deal with the stress of everything associated with COVID-19.” All they need to sign up is their NPI number.

Other relaxation and mindfulness apps available at no cost for anyone include PTSD Coach, Breathe2relax and Calm

Health Advocate also provides clinical and administrative services, as well as behavioral health and wellness programs. The site is supported by medical claims data science and a technology platform that uses machine learning to drive people to engage in their health and well-being.

For those who may need additional support, Dr. Neumann points to online or telehealth options for psychotherapy. If you already have a mental healthcare provider, contact them to see if your sessions could continue using phone calls or online delivery options.

 

Keep Informed, But Pace Yourself

Accurate and timely information about COVID-19 is important. However, Dr. Neumann says watching and listening too much media coverage can lead to increased feelings of fear and anxiety. “Try to engage in other activities like reading, listening to music or learning about new things.”

Maintain a Routine

Having a daily routine, especially when working remotely, can help maintain order and purpose in your day.

As schools and workplaces close and employees work remotely to prevent the spread of COVID-19, people are striving to keep themselves healthy and active. Dr. Neumann recommends visiting the Child Mind Institute for tips to keep a calm and healthy space at home.

Stay Socially Connected

Although in-person connections may be limited, Dr. Neumann recommends staying connected via phone calls, text messages, video chat and social media, particularly if you’re feeling stressed, lonely, sad or anxious. “Use your social connections to discuss your experiences,” she adds. “It can be helpful to connect with others who may be feeling the same way.”

With the number of COVID-19 cases increasing every day, the American Psychology Association offers insights on how to separate yourself from others while still getting the social support you need.

Keep Yourself Physically Healthy

It is vital that you are keeping yourself healthy by sleeping adequately, making nutritious food choices and exercising in your home as much as you can. 

 

Dr. Neumann recommends these sources for additional information on coping during COVID-19. 

Name

Source & Link

“Coping with Stress”

US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC):

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/copingwith-stresstips.html [cdc.gov]

“Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19”

US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC):

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/coping.html [cdc.gov]

“Taking Care of your Emotional Health”

US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC):

https://emergency.cdc.gov/coping/selfcare.asp [emergency.cdc.gov]

“Helping Children Cope with Emergencies”

US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC):

https://www.cdc.gov/childrenindisasters/helping-children-cope.html [cdc.gov]

RedBook Online COVID-19 Outbreak page

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

https://redbook.solutions.aap.org/ss/rbo_outbreaks_page_3.aspx [redbook.solutions.aap.org]

Q&A on coronaviruses

World Health Organization (WHO):

https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses [who.int]

Coronavirus & Mental Health: Taking Care of Ourselves During Infectious Disease Outbreaks

American Psychiatric Association (APA):

https://www.psychiatry.org/news-room/apa-blogs/apa-blog/2020/02/coronavirus-and-mental-health-taking-care-of-ourselves-during-infectious-disease-outbreaks [psychiatry.org]

Coronavirus & Emerging Infectious Disease Outbreaks Response

Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS):

https://www.cstsonline.org/resources/resource-master-list/coronavirus-and-emerging-infectious-disease-outbreaks-response [cstsonline.org]

Taking Care of your Family during Coronavirus Fact Sheet

Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS):

https://www.cstsonline.org/assets/media/documents/CSTS_FS_Corona_Taking_Care_of_Your_Family.pdf.pdf [cstsonline.org]

Research Information: Pandemics

American Psychological Association:

https://www.apa.org/practice/programs/dmhi/research-information/pandemics [apa.org]

Five ways to view coverage of the Coronavirus

American Psychological Association:

https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/pandemics [apa.org]

Speaking of Psychology: Coronavirus Anxiety

American Psychological Association:

https://www.apa.org/research/action/speaking-of-psychology/coronavirus-anxiety [apa.org]

COVID-19: Resources for Managing Stress

 

National Center for PTSD

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/covid/index.asp

 

Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with COVID-19

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network:

https://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/resources/fact-sheet/outbreak_factsheet_1.pdf [nctsn.org]

Just for Kids: A Comic Exploring the New Coronavirus

National Public Radio:

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/28/809580453/just-for-kids-a-comic-exploring-the-new-coronavirus [npr.org]

Talking to Teens & Tweens about Coronavirus

The New York Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/02/well/family/coronavirus-teenagers-anxiety.html [nytimes.com]