Managing COVID Stress | Healthfirst

Managing COVID Stress

Apr 07, 2020

Stress and anxiety about the coronavirus (COVID-19) can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions that you’ve never experienced before. You can’t get rid of all stress, but what can you do to help manage it? We’ve got some tips you can try to feel calmer, quickly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has helpful tips for coping with coronavirus (COVID-19). Please remember, if you experience any of these physical signs or symptoms of stress, or go through a period of prolonged anxiety, call your doctor.

Learn more about handling your stress right now.

Woman stretching on yoga mat

Get Active—Indoors

Yes, you can get active indoors. Just take 10 to 30 minutes every day to do something physical or something that makes you happy—you’ll feel better! Activities will help you to relax and take your mind off of what’s happening outside. If you’re up to it, do a few sets of jumping jacks, or find a quiet space to do some stretches or yoga, or put on your favorite music and dance around a bit. Physical activity helps improve your mood by increasing your body’s endorphins, also called “the happy chemical.” Exercise also helps protect you against illness. Google “10 minute indoor workout,” and you’ll find lots of fun, energetic online workouts!

Woman meditating in empty room

Try Deep Breathing

Here’s something you can try no matter where you are—deep breathing. Go to a quiet place in your house (if you can), or wait until the kids have gone to sleep and you’re alone to do some breathing exercises. Take a seat (on the floor or a comfy spot) and just inhale deeply, as much as your lungs will allow, and then exhale slowly. Repeat this as long as you need to until you find yourself calming down. If you can, try deep breathing every day.

Man reclining on couch with headphones on

Think Happy Thoughts

What makes you happy? Is it your favorite song, TV show, or book? Or maybe you like to get creative—painting, writing, knitting? Whatever makes you smile, give yourself at least 15 to 30 minutes a day to do your favorite activity to help reset your mood and get centered. Put a smile on your face by going through past (and recent) photographs or social media posts (your memories) to relive happy times.

Two women in a restaurant looking at a cell phone and laughing together

Talk to a Friend during Social Distancing

Call (or video chat) your friends, parents, siblings, or coworkers. Right now, most of us are in the same mindset due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus (COVID-19). And lots of people are worried about their families—just like you. Reach out to someone when you’re feeling overwhelmed or down, so that you can talk through your feelings to an understanding ear. Communication can definitely help. Make your connection more memorable by face chatting or video chatting through social media—seeing familiar faces will make you feel better!

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This health information or program is for educational purposes only and not intended to treat, diagnose, or act as a substitute for medical advice from your provider. Consult your healthcare provider and always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions.


“Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Stress and Coping,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed March 30, 2020.

“Tips to Manage Anxiety and Stress,” Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Accessed March 30, 2020.

“Physical Activity Reduces Stress,” Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Accessed March 30, 2020.

“Four Ways to Deal with Stress,” American Heart Association. Accessed March 30, 2016.