skip to Main Content

Managing Emotional Stress during the Pandemic

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people, and especially those older than 60. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children.   Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:

  • 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 depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

Why some people are more stressed than others about COVID

How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.  People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include:

  • Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use.
  • People who interact with others who are not taking the COVID pandemic seriously
  • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19 like health care providers

Ways to manage your emotions about COVID-19

  • 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.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy. Talk with friends and family using video chats and phone calls
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Understanding the risk to yourself and people you care about can make an outbreak less stressful.
  • Learn and share the facts about COVID-19 and help stop the spread of rumors. When you share accurate information about COVID-19, you can help make people feel less stressed

Information has been extracted from CDC, Stress and Coping

Back To Top