The current pandemic has even the most relaxed among us feeling stressed. So if you were struggling with anxiety before, things have likely escalated to intense levels.

There’s a lot of fear and anxiety because there’s a lot we don’t know. It’s a virus that has never infected humans until recently, so we’re just figuring out how to handle it. And then, there are the economic and social ramifications of dealing with so much isolation.

And if you’re worried about it all, know this: When we make it to the other side, we will all be stronger individually and as a community.

If you’re stressed about the current pandemic, you may be experiencing the following:

  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs

Stress Response is Personal

Everyone responds to stress in different ways, and some people are more prone to feeling excessive feelings of anxiousness during the current pandemic.

Those who may be at greater risk of COVID-related anxiety include:

  • Older people
  • People with compromised immune systems
  • Medical professionals
  • People with mental health conditions, including substance abuse
  • Children and teens

How to Cope with COVID-Related Stress

If you feel like your life is overwhelmed with stress as a result of the current pandemic, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the burden.

Break up with the news

It’s a good idea to keep connected and informed during this pandemic, but news can insight fear and worsen anxiety. Instead of watching the news or getting your news from social media, try spending 30 minutes every day reading headlines from one or two trusted news sources.

Take care of someone else

If you’re especially stressed about your own health or someone else’s, spend some time connecting with others. Think about what they can do to keep themselves safe and calm. Oftentimes, in finding solutions for others, we can find the answers we so desperately need in our own lives.

Strengthen your immune system

In this pandemic, so many of us struggle with a lack of control and helplessness. And it’s true that there are many things out of our individual control, but we can combat those feelings of helplessness with the things that are in our control. Stop stress eating and turn your habits around. When you’re taking good care of yourself, your body will be better equipped to handle stress.

Now is a great time to develop healthy habits. Consider meditation, eating well-balanced meals, and adding exercise to your daily routine.

Connect with others

Much of what we’re all struggling with during the isolation has to do with all the isolation. Especially if you’re feeling stressed, make a point to reach out to the people in your lives that you care about. This can serve dual purposes. Not only can it help make you feel connected, but it can also set your mind at ease when you find out that your loved ones are doing well. In addition to reaching out to your inner circle, consider reaching out to a different person each day. It could be a friend, neighbor, or an old co-worker. They’ll welcome the call, and the connection will benefit you too.

Stress seems to be one of many side effects of the current pandemic, and it’s up to each of us to manage our symptoms. But if you’re feeling like stress is overwhelming your life and interfering with your ability to function, talk to a professional. Most professional counselors are offering virtual sessions, so you don’t even have to worry about leaving your house.