Managing stress: Tips for family members amid COVID-19 pandemic

Press Staff Writer

        Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger. But you can’t take care of others if you don’t first take care of yourself, especially amid a global pandemic.
        The Ohio Department of Health, along with the Ohio Departments of Aging and Mental Health and Addiction Services offer these suggestions on how to support oneself while caring for others.
        • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about a stressful event repeatedly, such as COVID-19, can be upsetting.
        • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
        • Take time to unwind. Do some other activities you enjoy.
        • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
        Pandemic stress           
        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.
        • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.
        • Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes.
        • Anger or short temper.
        Caring for an older adult
        If you are taking care of an older adult:
        • Make sure your loved one’s nutrition intake is monitored.
        • Provide consistent predictable patterns and schedules.
        • Stay engaged with communication.
        • Personal care is important (clean clothes, bathing).
        • Attempt to lower emotions to reduce stress.
• Understand this change impacts a wide range of human experience that includes physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual wellbeing.
        Ohio residents can text the keyword “4hope” to 741741 to be connected to a trained crisis counselor. The text line is free and the number will not appear on a phone bill with the mobile service carrier.
        The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OMHAS) also offers a Help Line at 1-877-275-6364.
        OMHAS Director Lori Criss discusses “Managing Coronavirus Related Stress” on YouTube at
Visit or call 1-833-ASK-ODH for more answers to coronavirus questions or concerns.


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