Op-Ed: COVID-19 Outbreak peaks stress

The outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is causing a lot of stress for people in our communities. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.

Most people have been bombarded with information about how to protect themselves from getting COVID-19 and preventing the spread of the virus, the Center for Human Services wants to be sure you don’t overlook your own emotional health during this outbreak.

Some things you can do to support yourself include:

  • Avoiding excessive exposure to media coverage about the virus.
  • Taking good care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Being patient with yourself. Give yourself time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade.
  • Engaging in self-care activities that you enjoy, like reading, watching movies, etc.
  • Connecting with others, even if not face-to-face. Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member.
  • Maintaining a sense of hope and positive thinking.

Children often respond more strongly to a crisis than others. Children react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them.

When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Take time to talk with your child about the COVID-19 outbreak.

Answer their questions honestly, but in a way that they will understand and is age appropriate. Reassure your child that they are safe. Let them know it is okay if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you. Model good self-care.

If you would like to talk to a therapist by telephone for further guidance about emotional support, you can call Center for Human Services (CHS) at 206-362-7282.