Coping with Stress During COVID-19

It’s hard to deal with uncertainty. It’s even harder when some of the things we rely on to cope with uncertainty—being with others, going to the gym and exercising, blowing off steam by going on vacation—aren’t really feasible now.  

But there are still ways to successfully cope with stress and uncertainty. These include 

  • Being patient with yourself and each other. Many times, others feel the same way you do and are struggling with similar things. 
  • While it seems like our current problems may go on forever, they really won’t. One way to handle uncertainty is to take one day, even one hour, at a time. Don’t try to think too forward. 
  • It’s natural to feel bad about what you can’t do now or what you may be missing in your life. But it may be helpful to celebrate what you can do instead. 
  • One helpful thing is trying to go outside and enjoy fresh air. Yes, you still need to observe good social distancing practices when doing so. But being outside is good for the immune system and may break up the monotony of being inside. 
  • We can’t see each other face-to-face like we used to. But we can talk to each other on the telephone, and technology can allow us to see each other face-to-face safely.  
  • Check in on others. Doing so lets you know that you’re not the only one feeling the way you do. And helping each other out is a good way to distract yourself from your troubles. 
  • When feeling stressed, it’s pretty easy to let things go. And sometimes, letting things go when stressed out can be helpful. But when feeling overwhelmed, it’s very important to make sure that areas such as sleep, diet, and hydration are being maintained. 
  • Keeping up a routine may seem pointless right now. But keeping up a routine helps the day go by and gives us stability in an unpredictable world. 

These are indeed challenging times. But challenging doesn’t mean impossible. By being patient with ourselves, by being patient with others, and working together, we will see this through. 

Steven Taylor, MD
Staff Psychiatrist 
Kettering Physician Network, Behavioral Medicine of Beavercreek 

April 24, 2020