By Caroline Watkins

Coping during COVID-19

The coronavirus crisis has sent shockwaves around the world. In a time of stress and uncertainty, it's important to take care of yourself and learn about ways to mitigate stress levels during this pandemic.

'What people should know first and foremost is that it's really normal and really common to feel stressed during this time.'

- Dr. Jonathan S. Abramowitz, UNC-Chapel Hill professor of psychology and neuroscience and director of the UNC Anxiety Clinic

However, it's also important to develop healthy habits to manage your stress. In this guide, we will outline 7 ways that you can cope with stress during COVID-19 and beyond.

1. Be a smart news consumer

Make sure that you're getting information from trustworthy sources. Reference government sources such as the CDC and NCDHHS and established news sources. Don't trust everything you see on social media.

Photo Credit: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions

2. Know when to go offline

It's important to stay informed, but it's also imperative for your mental health to know when it's time to unplug.

'Obviously, it's overwhelming. You're inundated with this kind of information, whether it's false or accurate. I think it's really important right now to prioritize self-care. So, I really think that means specifically taking breaks from the radio and social media.'

- Alexis Gunipero Bunt, licensed clinical social worker

3. Find ways to get help

Never be ashamed to get help if you are feeling stressed. Check out the next slides to learn about resources available to you.

4. Yoga & Meditation

Experts say that yoga and meditation are also great ways to relieve stress and anxiety. According to Mayo Clinic, 'Yoga may help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and lower your heart rate.'

In addition to trying an online yoga class or doing your own flow at home, a simple breathing exercise can also help calm your mind.

'If you can get yourself in the moment, you can sometimes begin to relax that stress. And if you're so anxious and stressed that your breath is actually elevated or fast, just mindfully flowing that breath, taking deep inhales and exhales, can get you to begin to relax.'

- Lexie Wolf, owner of Yoga Garden Pittsboro

5. Keep a normal routine

In a time where many things are unpredictable, it may help to keep a daily routine to achieve a sense of normalcy.

'I think on top of making sure that you disconnect each day and connect with nature, also try to have a schedule to the best of your ability that's balanced in three areas: work, connection to others and then self-care.'

- Katelyn Jakobsen, licensed clinical mental health counselor associate

6. Exercise

Kristin Krippa, a psychological associate, encourages others to, 'Get outside as much as possible and exercise; doing those two things together is critical. It’s remarkable how much it can reduce stress.'

7. Stay connected with friends

It might be difficult to get together with friends right now, but there are still a number of ways to interact with them virtually. Schedule a Zoom 'happy hour,' host a virtual game night or even try snail mail.

In this guide, we outlined 7 ways to cope with stress during COVID-19:

1. Be a smart news consumer

2. Know when to go offline

3. Find ways to get help

4. Yoga & Meditation

5. Keep a normal routine

6. Exercise

7. Stay connected with friends

Thanks for reading. We hope you found this guide to be informative.

This digital project is part of an ongoing series by the News + Record about stress. You can read our first article of the series below.





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