While we take action to lessen the immediate impacts of COVID-19 on our communities and our health care systems, it is also important to minimize the secondary health effects of this pandemic. Widespread stress and anxiety regarding COVID-19, compounded by the economic distress due to lost wages, employment and financial assets; mass school closures; and necessary physical distancing measures can result in an increase of stress-related health conditions.
The California Surgeon General has a simple guide with things you can do every day, at home, to help support your mental and physical health, utilizing six key strategies:
- Supportive relationships: Maintain supportive relationships wherever you can, including virtually.
- Exercise: Engage in 60 minutes of physical activity every day, if you can. It doesn’t have to be all at one time.
- Sleep: Get sufficient, high-quality sleep. This may be particularly hard right now, but going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day can help.
- Nutrition: Ensure you are getting proper nutrition to help combat stress.
- Mental health support: Resources available here.
- Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness in whatever way works best for you. This could be things like meditation, yoga, or prayer for 20 minutes, two times a day.
Learn more in the California Surgeon General’s Playbook: Stress Relief during COVID-19. (PDF). The guide is also available in Arabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
Navigating Stress Management with Kids
Even for adults, it can be tough to recognize that what we feel as irritability, difficulty focusing, insomnia or changes in appetite can actually be signs that our bodies are feeling the effects of stress. For kids, no matter the age, their brains and bodies are even more vulnerable to the harmful effects of stress than adults, and most often, they aren’t able recognize or verbalize it. Stress in kids may show up differently than stress in adults does. The stress relief playbook can help you understand what to look out for and what you can do to protect your family’s health. Included in this guide:
- Keeping an eye out for stress in kids.
- Planning tools to reduce stress for kids.
- Strategies for stress reduction.
Learn more in the California Surgeon General’s Playbook: Stress Relief for Caregivers and Kids during COVID-19. (PDF). The guide is also available in Arabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.