Tips for Managing Stress & Anxiety

Related to COVID-19

Dealing with Stress and Anxiety

Feeling anxious about COVID-19? Stressed about the implications of isolation and quarantine? Here are some strategies to help you and your family manage these big emotions during this challenging time:

  1. Name it to tame it. Recognize when you are feeling anxious – Is your temper shorter and are you feeling more irritable? Having a hard time sleeping? Feeling overwhelmed by social media/news or having difficulty focusing? Do a quick self check: • What sensations do you notice in your body? For example, tightness in your chest, face, shoulders; racing heart; sweating palms • What kinds of thoughts are coming up for you? • Name your emotions. Are you feeling frustrated, worried, tired, scared? • Take 30 seconds to breathe deeply, relax any tensed parts and then make more intentional choices.
  2. Take breaks from the news. Do you find yourself checking news and social media more frequently for the latest updates? Schedule times when you plan to check in for updates and otherwise try to limit your phone use and turn off the radio/tv. When you notice yourself reaching for your phone, pause and take a deep breath. Ask yourself, am I bored or anxious? Make an intentional choice to check in.
  3. Create a routine. This is especially important for families with children, but adults feel safer and more calm when they know what to expect too! Teleworking, school closures, and social distancing have thrown off all our normal schedules. Take time to intentionally plan out your day/week. Write it down or tell a friend or family member about it! Bonus stress-reduction points if you can schedule time for mindfulness or meditation.
  4. Stay connected with others. Feeling connected to and supported by friends and family can greatly reduce anxiety. Schedule time each day to make a phone call, write an email or even (gasp!) a letter, host a group videochat or even just send a text message. If you feel well connected and supported already, try reaching out to others that are isolated by this crisis. For example, send a card, drawing or note to a local nursing home or shelter. We will all get through this together!

Additional Resource:

If you are feeling anxious and need someone to talk to, reach out to SAMHSA’s Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. Call 911 if you or someone you know is feeling so overwhelmed that they are considering hurting themselves or others.

Tips to Survive School Closures

Survive School Closures with These Family Stress Buster Ideas

  1. Dance! Put on music and have a dance party...can each family make up a dance move that everyone can try?
  2. Make Art! Take 15 minutes and draw/color together as a family (put away your phones!)...can you each make up a superhero and invent its powers?
  3. Play a Game! Make time to play a card or board game. Nothing on hand? How about Hide ‘n Seek, Red Light/Green Light, or Simon Says?
  4. Invent New Space and Give Each Other Space! Build a fort out of blankets and chairs or create a “nest” out of pillows and stuffed animals for children to snuggle up and read, rest or hide in; Put out a blanket and have a picnic in the living room
  5. Connect with Others! Make cards or drawings to set to family members or friends. No stamps? Take a photo and email it!; Connect with a grandparent via a videochat. Kids bored with just “talking”? Play charades or have your child read them a book, perform a song or take them on a tour!