Modified: March 18, 2020 5:20pm
There are a number of tips and practices to follow to maintain a positive outlook and avoid fear or panic during the COVID-19 pandemic. Anxiety is a normal human response to stressful situations but knowing how to manage stress during this time is critical.
Reducing anxiety by reducing risk:
- By practicing good hygiene, safe social distancing, avoiding sick people, disinfecting surfaces, and thoroughly washing your hands, you relieve yourself from worry that you may become infected.
Prioritize self-care and positive communication:
- Exercise, drink plenty of water, maintain a healthy diet, and spend time outside while still practicing safe social distancing. Healthy habits and fresh air make a huge difference.
- Create a support network of friends, family, colleagues, people with similar interests, faith-based organizations, etc. Connect with them virtually as much as possible. Loneliness and isolation can feed anxiety. Safe social distancing does not equal loneliness. We are all in this together.
- Remember that you will need social support and others will rely on your support. Create a mutually beneficial channel of communication.
Manage your information intake and enjoy new activities:
- Identify a few reliable sources of information such as www.cdc.gov, www.erie.gov, www.health.ny.gov and the World Health Organization. Commit yourself to only checking these a couple times a day for factual updates. Sensationalistic news increases anxiety.
- Try something new! Endless social media scrolling and binge-watching can increase anxiety. Practice mindfulness by going on a walk. Read those books you’ve been meaning to get to. Make crafts or do an art project. Try writing in a journal. Practice mindfulness or meditation. Now is the time to explore a new, enriching activity.
Mental Health Resources:
Crisis Services www.crisisservice.org / 716-834-3131
Horizon Health Services www.horizon-health.org / 716-831-1800
NYS Office of Mental Health: www.omh.ny.gov
The Erie County Department of Health has set up an information line for residents to call with questions about COVID-19 at (716) 858-2929. This hotline will be staffed Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Hours may change based on call volume.