If you are feeling anxious and stressed about the COVID-19 outbreak, you are not alone – many people are experiencing higher than normal stress and anxiety levels right now. Here are six tips for coping with the COVID-19 epidemic and helping to prevent the spread of the virus. To stay up to date on the latest news with the COVID-19 outbreak at Ohio State, visit the Wexner Medical Center.
- Breathe deeply: See JustBreathe for tips on how to relieve stress through slow, deep breathing. Take five slow, deep breaths right now and feel yourself calm down.
- Practice staying in the present moment: Worrying will not change or help the situation; try meditation or guided imagery.
- Use cognitive-behavioral skills: Remember, how you think affects how you feel and how you behave. If you are having a negative thought (e.g., “I might get the COVID-19 virus and get really sick.”), change it to a positive (e.g., “I will stay healthy by taking good self-care and practicing good infection control practices.”). Repeat these positive thinking statements several times a day.
- Stay active: Physical activity can help relieve stress. Even short walks can help.
- Talk to someone: Tell a family member or friend how you are feeling. Contact our Employee Assistance Program if fears and anxiety begin to interfere with your functioning.
- Practice good infection control practices: Wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds, cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough with your elbow or with a tissue that you immediately throw away, eliminate hand-shaking and practice social distancing – at least six feet of space between other people. If you are experiencing a fever of 100.4 or higher, cough, muscle aches and fatigue, call your healthcare provider.
Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, APRN-CNP, EBP-C, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN
Vice President for Health Promotion, University Chief Wellness Officer
Dean and Professor, College of Nursing
Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, College of Medicine
Executive Director, Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute for Evidence-based Practice in Nursing and Healthcare
The Ohio State University