Coping with Stress

Fear and anxiety caused by a disease like COVID-19 can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Worsening of mental health conditions
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations

How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.

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

  • Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19
  • Children and teens
  • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors, other health care providers, and first responders
  • People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use

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
  • Take care of your body
  • Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate
  • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals
  • Exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs
  • Make time to unwind
  • Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling

Need help? Know someone who does?

If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, there are a number of resources available at your disposal: 

Coping with Stress and Helping Children Cope with Stress (World Health Organization)

Employees: How to Cope with Job Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic (CDC)

Healthcare personnel and first responders: how to cope with stress and build resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic (CDC)

Managing workplace fatigue (CDC)