It is strange times of stay-at home orders, social distancing, and in public wearing masks. Often it seems like we are never going to see our friends and family again or go out for dinner or drinks, and it can be really lonely. Anxiety-wrought is the fear about whether we will do something and what the future will be like on the other side of this pandemic. We are afraid for the health of our loved ones and ourselves. Many people have found themselves in the role of teachers for their children, and if you do it well, there is tension around them, and what the hell is “new math?” Some people are now working from home and have been motivated to adapt to new ways of going to business and learning new technologies, such as programs for video chatting. While some have been furloughed or dismissed, and when they can get back to work, they are stressed. If you are an essential worker, you are overworked and exhausted.

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:

  • Changes in habits of sleep or eating.
  • Sleeping or focusing problems.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems.
  • Worsening of mental health conditions.
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

Ways to cope with stress:

  • Take breaks from watching news stories, like social media, reading, or listening to them. It can be unsettling to constantly learn about the pandemic.
  • Take care of your body.
  • Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
  • Get outside and breathe fresh air on your skin and feel the warmth of the sun.
  • Keep to a daily routine.
  • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
  • Exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol and drugs.
  • Create time for you to unwind. Try to do some other things that you love, even some that you haven’t done in a while because there was no time.
  • Communicate with others. Speak about your problems and how you are feeling with someone you trust. Chances are, they have the same feeling.

We are all together in this, and I think we are going to come out stronger on the other side, richer, with a new appreciation for the things we have taken for granted.