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In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, many people may feel anxiety or stress. Handling strong emotions during this challenging time is a normal response, according to Wellstar health experts.

In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, many people may feel anxiety or stress. Handling strong emotions during this challenging time is a normal response, according to Wellstar health experts.

“Things are changing very rapidly,” says Dr. Chirag Patel, Wellstar Medical Director of Population Health. “This virus is very new, and Wellstar has been preparing and taking care of the communities we serve. We also encourage people to take care of themselves physically and mentally.”

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations like the COVID-19 outbreak. How you or your loved one responds can depend on a variety of factors, such as their background and environment.

According to the CDC, reactions during the outbreak can include:

• Fear and worry about your health status and that of your loved ones who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

• Changes in sleep or eating patterns.

• Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.

• Worsening of chronic health problems.

• Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

Figuring out ways to cope with stress and axiety can help you, your loved ones and your community. If stress begins to interfere with your daily life, reach out to your health care provider.

Coping with Stress & Anxiety During COVID-19

Finding ways to manage your stress and anxiety during this time can help you stay happy, healthy and hopeful. Here are several helpful coping tips that can keep you feeling upbeat and positive:

• Break away from news coverage. Avoid excessive exposure to media coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak.

• 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.

• Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do some other activities you enjoy to return to your healthy life.

• Connect with others. Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships.

• Support your loved ones. Check in with your friends and family often. Virtual communication via phone, email, text messages, video chat or social media can help you feel connected.

• Stay optimistic. Maintain a sense of hope and positive thinking.

For more information and tips, please visit wellstar.org/COVID-19 or cdc.gov.