According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stress during the COVID-19 outbreak may include:
- Fear and worry about your own health and health of your loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Worsening of mental health conditions
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs
To help cope with stress and anxiety, the CDC suggests the following strategies:
- Avoid information overload, and take breaks from watching, reading or listening to new stories about the pandemic.
- Take care of your body. Exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and eat healthy, well-balanced meals. You many also want to try taking deep breaths, stretching or meditation.
- Make time to unwind, and try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Several companies are offering free online services to help you manage stress during COVID-19. Headspace, a guided meditation service, is offering free meditations and sleep and movement exercises through its app. Core Power Yoga, a popular yoga studio, is also offering free online classes, too.
For more workout options, you can also try out one of Planet Fitness’s daily fitness classes streamed live on Facebook. For other complimentary, at-home services, including options to help you unwind and stay physically and mentally fit, check out this list of possibilities.
Carol Cummings, RN, Brookdale’s senior director of Optimum Life Engagement and Innovation, reminds us that is important during this time of social distancing that we take a multi-dimensional approach to well-being.
“Physical well-being, exercise, eating right and getting enough sleep contributes to emotional and mental well-being, and the opposite it also true. Also, maintain a sense of purpose and engage in spiritual practices on a regular basis. Finally, do all you can to stay socially connected,” she says.
Caregivers may be facing even more mental strain.
If you’re a caregiver, especially for an older adult, you may be experiencing even more anxiety as you try to balance additional demands and concerns surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak. Older adults and those living with chronic health conditions are at a higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19. You may be worried that you or your kids could expose your more vulnerable parents to the virus, especially in multi-generational households. Or if you live farther away from your aging parents, you may be concerned about how they’ll safely get their medications and groceries or meet other basic needs during the pandemic.
Here are some suggestions and resources to help caregivers cope with additional stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Join an online caregiver support group, like the ones offered through the Family Caregiver Alliance.
- If you’re caring for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s, consider these tips from the Alzheimer’s Association to help address the specific needs of those living with dementia.
- Turn anxiety into action by making a plan. Check our AARP’s preparedness fact sheet for caregivers during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Don’t forget to take care of you. Self-care will help you stay strong.
And remember Brookdale and our team of senior experts are here for you and your family, too. We’re focused on care for seniors and have been trusted by families like yours for more than 40 years. We’ve been through a lot together, and in that time, have learned even more. We’re here to serve you and your family, and we’ll get through this crisis together.
Note: The following is shared for informational purposes only. We are not infectious disease experts and you should consult with trusted, independent, reputable sources and your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you have a medical condition or are at increased risk for contracting COVID-19. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or health advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard professional medical or health advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on our site.
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