With increased isolation and uncertainty, people may be feeling higher levels of stress. These tips and articles will help you manage your anxiety.
1. Remember that knowledge is power:
Understanding the factors that affect a person’s immune response to COVID-19 will matter as much as, or more than, understanding the virus! Poor lung health caused by smoking, lack of adequate health care, suppressed immune systems, and/or populations particularly susceptible to infectious diseases, such as the elderly, have been particularly affected by COVID-19. Yes, there is a risk, but for the vast majority, the risk is not commensurate with the degree of obsession and panic that media and social media coverage of the virus has bred.
2. Don’t accept everything you read or hear:
Keep in mind that news outlets are profit-driven and the age-old adage, “if it bleeds it leads,” can result in exaggerated reporting. Look beyond the numbers and arm yourself with information. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information and frequent updates on the COVID-19’s spread, severity, risk assessment, etc. To subscribe to the CDC’s email and text message service, visit CDC Subscription Service.
3. Put things in perspective:
- In 2017, nearly 40,000 people in the U.S. died from a fall in the home.
- CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in 9 – 45 million illnesses, 140,000 – 810,000 hospitalizations, and 12,000 – 61,000 deaths annually since 2010.
- The fatality rate of COVID-19 is 2% — higher than the flu but lower than SARS (10%) or MERS (30%).
- More than 80% of coronavirus cases are mild.
4. Maintain familiar routines as much as possible:
This includes taking care of your basic needs and employing helpful coping strategies:
- Take prescribed medicines.
- Rest during work or between shifts.
- Eat healthy food.
- Engage in physical activity. If you like going to the gym, look for online exercise videos on YouTube.
- If you don’t want to go out, Walgreens and CVS have waived delivery fees for prescriptions and many grocery stores also offer delivery.
5. Get your emotional support system in place:
- Maintain familiar routines in daily life as much as possible, take care of your basic needs and employ helpful coping strategies: rest during work or between shifts, eat healthy food and engage in physical activity.
- Stay connected with others and maintain your social networks.
- Have the emails and phone numbers of close friends and family at your fingertips.
- Stay connected via email, social media, video conference and telephone.
- Find a free online support group.
- Reach out to your local NAMI Illinois or State Organization for information on support programs in your area.
- Visit the NAMI Resource Library, which provides an extensive list of in-person and online support groups, and other mental health resources.