How are you holding up during the COVID-19 outbreak?
Common answers these days include:
- I’m freaking out.
- I’m barely keeping it together.
- I’m losing it.
So if you can relate to the stress, fear, and anxiety about the new coronavirus and the changes it’s made in our lives, you’re not the only one.
On a global scale, this pandemic is affecting our social lives, our mental health, our sleep patterns, and more. You may be feeling afraid for yourself, your loved ones, your job, or your housing.
That’s a lot to carry.
And on top of it all, as you follow the CDC’s recommended guidelines for physical or social distancing, you might also lose some of your community ties and social support that could otherwise help you through a time as stressful as this.
Here’s some help.
Not every one of the following strategies will work for every person, but if you keep these resources in your toolbox, there’s a good chance that you’ll develop a solid plan to support yourself moving forward.
Chronic loneliness can have an impact on your mental health, and it’s hard to avoid while you’re in isolation or under quarantine.
Learn about how loneliness can affect you and what to do about it:
What helps you calm down when you feel stress taking over? These resources can help you find more answers.
For the breaking news cycle
- Tending to Your Mental Health During the COVID-19 Outbreak
- 9 Resources for Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety
- Is My Anxiety Around COVID-19 Normal — or Something Else?
- 4 Tips for Managing Your Anxiety in Uncertain Times
- Headline Stress Disorder: When Breaking News Is Bad for Your Health
For relief right now
- 8 Breathing Exercises to Try When You Feel Anxious
- How to Do a Body Scan Meditation (and Why You Should)
- 14 Mindfulness Tricks to Reduce Anxiety
- 7 Ways to Achieve ‘Emotional Catharsis’ Without Having a Meltdown
- 17 Strategies for Tackling Stress in 30 Minutes or Less
For ongoing support
Stress is one thing, but panic is a whole different animal. If you’re overwhelmed by a surge of fear, these might help:
Oftentimes, with isolation comes depression. If you’re already living with depression, this time might make it worse — but there are things you can do to feel better.
- 8 Ways to Get Out of Bed When Depression Is Keeping You Down
- How to Fight Depression Naturally: 20 Things to Try
- 10 Things to Do When You Don’t Want to Do Anything
- 9 Foods That Can Lift Your Mood
Sleep can help your immune system, but it’s not easy to get a peaceful night’s sleep with COVID-19 on your mind.
OCD, health anxiety, PTSD, and other conditions might be activated when you’re worrying about the pandemic and stuck at home with your thoughts.
Here are some specific resources just for you:
- 7 Tips for Coping with Coronavirus Fear While Chronically Ill
- 6 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About COVID-19 and Your Chronic Illness
- How to Deal with Health Anxiety During the COVID-19 Outbreak
- I Have OCD. These 5 Tips Are Helping Me Survive My Coronavirus Anxiety
- How to Manage Eating Disorder Recovery in Quarantine
- 5 Reminders for People with Eating Disorders During the COVID-19 Outbreak
- The Life-Changing Magic of Accepting That There’ll Always Be a Mess
While exercise can help your mental health, it’s best to avoid going to the gym during the COVID-19 outbreak. Instead, you can try these home workouts and gentle mood-boosting movements.
Have you switched to working remotely? Working from home can have its challenges, especially around stress and your mental health.
- COVID-19 and Working from Home: 26 Tips to Guide You
- How to Care for Your Mental Health When You Work from Home
- 5 Ways to Create a Healthy and Productive Work-from-Home Environment
- Working from Home and Depression: Why It Happens and How to Cope
- 9 Helpful Tips When Working from Home Triggers Your Depression
- 33 Healthy Office Snacks to Keep you Energized and Productive
Cabin fever, anyone? For some people, keeping busy is one way to deal with the mental health effects of stress and isolation.
Try these resources:
- Cabin Fever: Why It Happens and 7 Ways to Deal
- How to Build Daily and Weekly Routines as Shelter-in-Place Drags On
- 5 Tips for Cabin Fever During Your Shelter-in-Place
- How Gardening Helps Relieve Anxiety — and 4 Steps to Get Started
- DIY Therapy: How Crafting Helps Your Mental Health
- How a Pet Can Help You While You Shelter in Place
It’s not easy to have a whole household dealing with stress under the same roof. If you’re a parent, these resources might be useful for you and your children:
- The 15 Best Online Resources for Kids While Sheltering in Place
- Working at Home and Parenting: Tactical and Emotional Tips for Parents
- How to Talk to Your Kids About the COVID-19 Outbreak
- Anxiety Through the Roof? Simple, Stress-Reducing Tips for Parents
- 6 Calming Yoga Poses for Kids Who Need a Chill Pill
- Mindfulness for Kids: Benefits, Activities, and More
- 10 Tips to Get Your Kids to Sleep
- Keeping Your Kids Busy When You’re Stuck at Home: 12 Ideas
Sometimes, there’s just nothing like a nudge in the right direction to give your optimism a boost.
You may be isolated at home, but getting help from others is still an option.
Hopefully, this resource guide can remind you that you don’t have to carry this load alone, and you don’t have to make wild guesses about how to handle it.
There are real, science-backed, expert-approved ways to navigate moments of stress, isolation, sleeplessness, and more.
You’re also an expert in your own life when it comes to your needs and how you’ve weathered hard times before.
So keep these resources on hand, refer to them as often as you need, and give yourself permission to take good care of yourself during this trying time. You deserve all the gentle care you can get.
Maisha Z. Johnson is a writer and advocate for survivors of violence, people of color, and LGBTQ+ communities. She lives with chronic illness and believes in honoring each person’s unique path to healing. Find Maisha on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.