Coping with stress and anxiety during COVID-19

If the COVID-19 pandemic is causing you or your loved ones stress and anxiety, you are not alone. Watch for the following signs that children and adults in your life might be feeling overwhelmed.

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones.
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns.
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems.
  • Worsening of mental health conditions.
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.

If you notice any of these behaviors, there are ways to cope and there’s help available if you need it. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about and your community stronger. Here are some things you can do on your own.

  • Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

You may need to seek professional help to manage your mental health.

If stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row, call your healthcare provider.

If you or someone you care about feels like you want to harm yourself or others, call 911. The Disaster Distress Hotline has counselors standing by to listen and help. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.

Resources for first responders

First responders face particular stressors that may increase during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members of the 911 and Commander Level Peer support teams stand ready to support dispatchers and commanders around the Kansas City region as they cope with personal and job-related stress.

Any employee of a fire, EMS, law enforcement or dispatch department in the MARC region can call the Peer Support Line at 816-701-8212 for confidential peer-based assistance.

Health care professionals and other essential workers may also be dealing with anxiety, stress, fear, isolation or other difficult emotions right now. Any frontline worker can find fast, free, crisis counseling 24/7 by texting FRONTLINE at 741741.

Remember, we’re all in this together. You are not alone. There’s help to manage stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 crisis. Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay home.