People may experience a variety of feelings and thoughts during the current situation with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in this country. The American Red Cross has information people can use to cope with this evolving situation.
This is a particularly stressful time. Something like this is upsetting for everyone involved. People in impacted areas of the country are affected, as well as people all over the country who are watching the media coverage of this situation.
Children are especially at risk as they may become frightened that they or their loved ones will get sick. It is important to reassure children and talk to them in a calm manner. Their view of the world as a safe and predictable place is temporarily lost. How a parent or other adult reacts around the child in a situation like this can determine how quickly and completely the child recovers.
STEPS TO HELP COPE
People may be experiencing many different emotions like fear, anger, confusion and disbelief. These are all normal feelings in this type of situation. Their reactions appear in different ways, not only in the way someone feels, but in the way they think and what they think about; their sleeping habits, how they go about daily living; and the way they interact and get along with others. Here are a few steps to help people cope:
- Stay informed through trusted resources like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), but limit exposure to media coverage, especially for children.
- Spend more time with family and friends and offer your support.
- Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, drink plenty of water and get enough rest.
- Be patient with yourself and others. It’s common to have any number of temporary stress reactions such as fear, anger, frustration and anxiety.
- Encourage children to express their feelings and thoughts. Reassure them about their safety.
- Relax your body often by doing things that work for you—take deep breaths, stretch, meditate or pray, or engage in activities you enjoy.
- Pace yourself between stressful activities, and do something fun after a hard task.
Many people have experience coping with stressful life events and typically feel better after a few days. Others find that their stress does not go away as quickly as they would like and it influences their relationships with their family, friends and others. Children, senior citizens, people with disabilities and people for whom English is not their first language are especially at risk and are likely to need extra care and help.
If you find yourself or a loved one experiencing some of the feelings and reactions listed below for two weeks or longer, this may be a sign that you need to reach out for additional assistance.
- Crying spells or bursts of anger
- Difficulty eating
- Difficulty sleeping
- Losing interest in things
- Increased physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches
- Feeling guilty, helpless or hopeless
- Avoiding family and friends
If you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions such as sadness, depression, anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or someone else, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).