1. Limit your exposure to the news and social media. This is proven to reduce stress levels.
2. Take care of your body. Exercise, and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol and drugs. Eat healthy meals and practice relaxation techniques.
3. Decide what quarantine means for you. Some people are comfortable visiting the grocery store; maybe you aren’t. Set boundaries with friends and family as needed.
4. Practice empathy. Listen to others. Accept their biases, and your own as well. Emotions overwhelm reason during times like these. Why try to win an argument?
but is also not catastrophic.” —Catherine Belling, Ph.D
Here is a short video and two articles that offer more advice:
“Face COVID – How to Respond Effectively to the Corona Crisis”
A five-minute YouTube explainer from Russ Harris M.D.
This well-paced animated video takes viewers through practical steps and “thought exercises” to deploy when anxiety keeps them from being their best selves. Excellent for sharing with others.
“We Asked Experts How to Cope with Your Coronavirus Anxiety” Shine. March 12, 2020.
“New Research on Stress of Quarantine and 5 Ways to Feel Better” Psychology Today. March 31, 2020. Marlynn Wei M.D. J.D.
When to call a healthcare provider: Facts on mental distress.
Some sufferers will need to see a mental health professional. In this New York Times article, a clinical psychologist explains the difference between mild and acute anxiety. It’s worth quoting him at length:
“There are roughly four responses to the coronavirus crisis and the contingent social isolation. Some people take it all in stride and rely on a foundation of unshakable psychic stability. Others constitute the worried well, who need only a bit of psychological first aid. A third group who have not previously experienced these disorders are being catapulted into them. Last, many who were already suffering from major depressive disorder have had their condition exacerbated, developing what clinicians call ‘double depression,’ in which a persistent depressive disorder is overlaid with an episode of unbearable pain.”
Andrew Solomon, professor of medical clinical psychology at Columbia University Medical Center.
The CDC offers straightforward guidelines for handling stress during quarantine.
Where to go for immediate intervention.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides 24/7 crisis intervention, safety planning and information on domestic violence (800-799-7233)
- The Suicide Prevention Lifeline connects callers to trained crisis counselors (800-273-8255)
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) provides information on prevention, treatment and symptoms of anxiety, depression and related conditions (240-485-1001)