Hijacking Stress during COVID-19

stress during covid 19

When sweeping disruption, such as a world pandemic, changes almost everything about the way we live, how do we best cope with the inevitable stress the circumstances bring? Stress during COVID-19 is unavoidable. Establishing order in the midst of what seems to be chaos becomes invaluable.

Dealing with Stress during COVID-19

The following tips provide a straightforward framework for navigating this stressful time of COVID-19.

  • Monitor time spent watching the news

    Staying appropriately informed about local and world events, especially during a pandemic, is responsible. However, spending undue time watching, reading, or listening to news stories – including social media – can cause more stress and grow counterproductive. Navigate media input with the following in mind:

    • Set alerts on your phone to notify you of any big changes in events.
    • Designate a time each day for TV or internet news updates instead of keeping the TV on all day.
    • Limit your time on social media.


  • Take care of your body

    Because adjustment to the many pressing changes – both professionally and at home – often takes precedence, it becomes easy to neglect your own personal health needs. Mindfully include the following:

    • Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
    • Plan healthy, well-balanced meals.
    • Exercise regularly.
    • Get plenty of sleep.


  • Make time to unwind

    During a quarantine, home becomes the location for all work-related as well as non-work related activities. Maintaining intentional balance is vital – “work while you work and play while you play.” At the end of the day, set aside time to unwind with additional activities you enjoy.

    • Take a walk outside.
    • Spend time with family.
    • Read a book.
    • Start or continue a hobby.
    • Try something new.


  • Connect with others

    Likewise, in a time of “shelter at home,” connection with others is decisive in maintaining a healthy response to unusual, unfamiliar circumstances. Communicate with family and friends. Talk with people you trust about your concerns. Invite them to do the same. Engage with these ideas:

    • Stay in touch using applications such as FaceTime and Zoom.
    • Schedule a socially distanced picnic with neighbors.
    • Send a quick text message or make a call to friends and family.
  • Focus on family

    During “normal” times, we often get too busy for the daily interactions with our families COVID-19 quarantine now provides. Capture the opportunities less activity offers with these simple options:

    • Explore a new hobby together.
    • Take bike rides.
    • Do puzzles. Play board games.
    • Read a book or watch a TV show/movie series together.
    • Ask thoughtful questions. Listen well.


  • Stay hopeful

    The COVID-19 situation puts us all in unchartered territory. Integrate your choice of perspective.

    • Focus on what you can do instead of what you cannot do.
    • Create ways to serve or help someone else.
    • Be patient.
    • Note the positive.


  • Turn concerns into useful action*

    • Stay home. Unless it is essential for you to leave, remain at home.
    • Wash your hands, often, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • Put distance between yourself and other people – at least 6 feet.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Wear cloth face masks. Visit this CDC link: how to make a face mask – no sewing required.
    • Clean surfaces using soap and water. Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces such as door knobs, light switches, countertops, phones, and keyboards.
    • If you have mild symptoms but are in generally good health, take care of yourself as you would for a cold or the flu.
    • If you need help finding a doctor or accessing medical care, call 2 1 1. They can direct you to low- or no-cost providers in your area (-Department of State Health Services).

* Texas Department of State Health Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention