How to Handle Stress During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Posted on 04/06/2020
The word, "stress" written on a piece of paper.

There is no doubt about it; these are stressful times.

Dealing with the many medical and physical concerns we have right now, however, means we sometimes forget the very real impact the COVID-19 outbreak is having on our mental health and the mental well-being of those close to us. 

Fear and anxiety about COVID-19 can be overwhelming. Many of us are experiencing strong, and sometimes confusing, emotions and at times are overwhelmed by a feeling of helplessness.

It is important to remember that everyone reacts differently to stressful situations.  How we respond may have to do with our background, additional stressors in our lives, and the situation of those around us.

People who may be struggling more right now may include:

  • Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19

  • People who are worried about finances and the ability to pay for necessities

  • Children and teens

  • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders

  • People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use

Some of the behaviors and reactions we may be noticing in ourselves and others can include:

  • Fear and worry about our own health and the health of loved ones

  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns

  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating

  • Worsening of chronic health problems

  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

At the same time, regardless of our circumstances and how much stress we are experiencing, there are numerous resources that can help. 

Mental Health Resources:

Other Types of Assistance:


  • If you can, go for a walk. Wear a mask and stay 6 feet away from others. Physical activity is a proven way to raise endorphin levels, and make us feel better.

Helping Others:

  • Helping others provides enormous solace during difficult times. You can call a friend or family member to offer support or just check in. There are many other ways to lend a hand:

Next, we’ll share ideas for online resources such as theater, concerts, yoga classes and many other enjoyable activities to experience. Remember, we are in this together and we will get through this together too.