COVID-19 and Anxiety
Ways to Cope with Strong Feelings Related to COVID-19
Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH, strongly offers these recommendations for coping with anxiety related to the COVID-19 outbreak:
- Remember that distress, anxiety, fear, and strong emotions are normal in times of distress or crisis. Remind yourself and others that these feelings will fade.
- Get information from a trusted source, such as coronavirus.ohio.gov or by calling the Ohio COVID-19 call center at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).
- Learn and follow tips for preparing for and responding to COVID-19.
- Learn and follow tips on how to prevent COVID-19.
- Avoid excessive exposure to media coverage of COVID-19. It is important to get good information to help you prepare and respond, but don’t overwhelm yourself or your family with information.
- Eat nutritious food, exercise, get adequate sleep, stay hydrated, avoid alcohol and drugs, and make time to relax and unwind.
- Incorporate stretching or meditation into your routine. Take deep breaths when feeling overwhelmed.
- Stay connected with friends and family. Discuss your concerns and be supportive of theirs.
- Keep participating in hobbies/activities that do not expose you to close contact with others in confined spaces.
- If you have a mental health condition, continue with your treatment plan and monitor for any new symptoms. Call your healthcare provider with any concerns.
- Recognize signs of distress:
- Feeling hopeless or helpless.
- Feelings of numbness, disbelief, anxiety or fear.
- Changes in appetite, energy, and activity levels.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Difficulty sleeping or nightmares and upsetting thoughts and images.
- Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes.
- Worsening of chronic health problems.
- Anger or short-temper.
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.
- Call your healthcare provider if your feelings overwhelm you for several days in a row.
- Reach out for help:
- Contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national Disaster Distress Helpline by calling 1-800-985-5990 or texting TalkWithUs to 66746.
- Reach the Ohio Crisis Text Line* by texting keyword 4HOPE to 741 741.
- Reach the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services Help Line* at 1.877.275.6364
- Find a provider at https://findtreatment.gov.
*These functions will remain operational and staffed.
Additional resources on mental health and COVID-19 can be found at mha.ohio.gov/coronavirus.
For additional COVID-19 information, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.
For answers to your COVID-19 questions, call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).
- Stay home when you are sick
- Avoid contact with people who are sick
- Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals
- Wash hands often with water and soap (20 seconds or longer)
- Dry hands with a clean towel or air dry your hands
- Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands or after touching surfaces
- Clean and disinfect "High-Touch" surfaces often
- Call before visiting your doctor
- Practice good hygiene habits