REGION – New reports about COVID-19 are becoming more widespread and can be stressful to deal with. Here are some tips to help you manage stress, put news reports in perspective, and maintain a positive outlook.
Keep things in perspective
Take a deep breath and remind yourself that most people who contract COVID-19 will only experience mild symptoms. Work is being done to help people who may be more vulnerable to the coronavirus, such as senior citizens and those with underlying health conditions. As coverage increases, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to keep your family and loved ones healthy.
Get the facts
It is helpful to adopt a more analytical approach as you follow news reports about the coronavirus. You will also want to verify information that you receive from family, friends, or social media.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a webpage dedicated to information on the coronavirus outbreak at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV.
The Vermont Department of Health has a webpage dedicated to information on the coronavirus outbreak at www.healthvermont.gov.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has a webpage dedicated to information on the coronavirus outbreak at www.dhhs.nh.gov.
Communicate with your children
Discuss the news coverage of the coronavirus with honest and age-appropriate information. Parents can also help allay distress by focusing children on routines and schedules. Remember that children will observe your behaviors and emotions for cues on how to manage their own feelings during this time. You may want to limit how much media they consume to help them manage stress.
Maintaining social networks can foster a sense of normality and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress. You can maintain these connections without increasing your risk of getting the virus by talking on the phone, texting, or chatting with people on social media platforms. You may want to share useful information you find on government websites with your friends and family. It will help them manage stress effectively.
Seek additional help
Individuals who feel an overwhelming nervousness, a lingering sadness, or other prolonged reactions that adversely affect their job performance or interpersonal relationships should consult with a trained and experienced mental health professional. Psychologists and other appropriate mental health providers can help people deal with extreme stress. These professionals work with individuals to help them find constructive ways to manage stress effectively.
A podcast from the American Psychological Association is available at www.apa.org/research/action/speaking-of-psychology/coronavirus-anxiety.
Submitted by Twin State Psychological Services, Springfield, Vt. For more information, go to www.twinstatepsychologicalservices.com.