The outbreak of COVID-19 is stressful for people. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and our community stronger.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you respond to the pandemic can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in. Taking care of yourself and helping others cope will help us get through this difficult time together.
Ways to cope with stress
Take care of your body. Try to eat healthy well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
Connect with others. Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships, and focus on strengthening your support system.
Take breaks. Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Try taking in deep breaths. Try to do activities you usually enjoy. Take a walk outside.
Help kids cope. Check in with your child and ask what questions they have. Limit information to credible facts and give simple answers. Listen to and validate their feelings, but don’t tell them not to worry. Correct misinformation. You might say, “We can do things to try to stay healthy, like washing our hands regularly and avoiding touching our faces. It’s true that some people have died from this, and most people who get this illness are OK.” Keep routines in place. Stay in touch with friends and family by email, video, mail, or phone. Exercise together. Accept and ask for help.
Stay informed. When you feel that you are missing information, you may become more stressed or nervous. Watch, listen to, or read the news for updates from officials, like us! Be aware that there may be rumors during a crisis, especially on social media.
Avoid too much exposure to news. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do enjoyable activities and return to normal life as much as possible and check for updates between breaks.
Support relationships at work. Implement the Considerations for a Trauma Informed Response for Work Settings from Trauma Informed Oregon if you an essential worker or working from home.
Seek help when needed. If distress impacts activities of your daily life for several days or weeks, talk to a clergy member, counselor, or doctor. Contact the SAMHSA helpline to find a treatment provider at 1-800-985-5990 or call 211 for local resources. If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide—whether you are in crisis or not—call or live chat the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Call us at the Malheur County Health Department for more information or to get connected to one of our many programs, including WIC, peer mentor support, birth control, syringe exchange, home visiting, and more. There are no bad questions. Call and let us help you at 541-889-7279. Call our peer dispatch line directly at 541-709-8539 if you are concerned about your substance use. All services are confidential and free or low cost. Reach out and let’s get through this together.