The rapid spread of the coronavirus and consequent stay-at-home orders have thrust our society into a new normal that caused major disruptions to our lives and uncertainty about our safety, security, and future. Some among of us are experiencing increased levels of stress. For many, the practices we had in place to maintain our well-being prior to the pandemic are no longer available to us, and we are left having to reimagine how to find balance and safeguard our well-being.

Following are 6 tips for coping with stress, adapted from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and American Psychological Association (APA).

1. Be Kind to Yourself – Prioritize activities that you enjoy and that help you to relax.

 

2. Care for Your Body

    1. Try new routines that that have a calming, relaxing effect, such as deep breathing, stretching, yoga, or meditation
    2. Exercise regularly
    3. Get plenty of sleep
    4. Avoid alcohol and drugs
    5. Make healthy food choices

 

3. Stay Connected – Reach out to those who you trust to stay connected. It also can help to discuss your feelings and concerns with people who care about you.

 

4. Limit Media – Take breaks from consuming news stories, including social media, related to the pandemic.

 

5. Control What You Can, Let Go of What You Can’t – Try not to focus on the worst-case scenarios that are out of your control.  Focus on that which is in your control. For example, focus on simple daily tasks such as taking a shower, walking, and preparing a meal. Create routines that provide structure and comfort, and acknowledge when you have completed or accomplished even the smallest things that are in your control.

 

6. Seek Help – If you feel overwhelmed with emotions such as sadness, despair, depression, or anxiety, or if you feel like you may harm yourself or someone else, please seek help immediately.

    1. Call 911
    2. Montgomery County Crisis Center – 240-777-4000
    3. Mental Health Hotline – 301-738-2255
    4. Montgomery County Abused Persons Program – 240-777-4673
    5. Sexual Assault Crisis Hotline 240-77-4357