Like a lot of people, you may feel that daily COVID-19 news brings up more questions than answers. Information on the pandemic, advice and government directives change frequently.
Many people’s routines have turned completely upside down: working from home, not working, homeschooling, staying inside more and limiting socializing to telephone and virtual opportunities. It’s understandable to feel unsettled, anxious, worried, scared and even angry.
Given these circumstances, it’s normal to worry about personal health, families, friends, coworkers and your community. Rather than give in to endless worry, use these well-documented ways to reduce and manage stress:
- Exercise! Physical activity, even just 15-20 minutes inside or outside, will reduce stress.
- Limit information intake. Set aside a certain part of the day specifically for news consumption and give yourself a time limit. This will help if you’re feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
- Keep a schedule and stay busy. Have a daily routine and to-do list. Consider prioritizing neglected chores and finding creative outlets that let you focus on something else for a while: listen to music, play an instrument, do a crossword puzzle or Sudoku, paint, draw, cook.
- Read a book. Many public libraries offer free digital downloads to a phone, tablet or e-reader. This service saves time and money! Options in Northern California include:
- Marin County Free Library
- Northern California Digital Library
- Sacramento Public Library
- Santa Clara City Library
- San Jose Public Library
- San Mateo County Libraries
- Tumble Book Library: children’s picture books, read-alongs, quizzes, lesson plans and educational games. Username: pamf; Password: education
- Keep in touch with friends, family and your community with calls and video chats.
- Journaling can help reduce stress and can be done alone or as a family activity.
- Meditate. Meditation and mindfulness turn your focus inward and away from all the stress around you. Meditation apps and resources include:
- Ask for help. If your stress and anxiety become overwhelming or difficult to cope with, please reach out to your doctor or therapist.
- Set a health goal. If you want to work with a health educator to set a self-care goal, such as exercising or improving your diet, please give us a call or submit an online information request.
As you adjust to and cope with changes brought about by COVID-19, please remember to contact your local Community Health Resource Centers for assistance. If you’re a Palo Alto Medical Foundation patient, call your nearest CHRC or submit an online request. We’re always happy to help.
Written by: Jen Hawkinger, MPH and Dionyse Hartmann, RN
Reviewed by: Steven Johnson, PA-C
Last reviewed: March 31, 2020
DISCLAIMER: Sutter Health does not endorse or recommend any of the outside resources mentioned in this article. These resources are meant to assist you in achieving a greater understanding of general health issues and are not intended to be a substitute for medical care. We do not recommend any particular treatment option. These resources do not represent all that is available on a given health topic. We strongly encourage you to consult with your doctor or healthcare professional regarding any questions about your specific health concerns.