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Erie County: Staying positive and overcoming anxiety during coronavirus

Submitted

Thu, Mar 19th 2020 01:15 pm

By the Erie County Department of Health

There are a number of tips and practices to follow to maintain a positive outlook and avoid fear or panic during the COVID-19 pandemic. Anxiety is a normal human response to stressful situations, but knowing how to manage stress during this time is critical.

Reducing Anxiety by Reducing Risk

By practicing good hygiene, safe social distancing, avoiding sick people, disinfecting surfaces, and thoroughly washing your hands, you relieve yourself from worry that you may become infected.

Prioritize Self-Care and Positive Communication

Exercise, drink plenty of water, maintain a healthy diet, and spend time outside while still practicing safe social distancing. Healthy habits and fresh air make a huge difference.

Create a support network of friends, family, colleagues, people with similar interests, faith-based organizations, etc. Connect with them virtually as much as possible. Loneliness and isolation can feed anxiety. Safe social distancing does not equal loneliness. We are all in this together.

Remember that you will need social support and others will rely on your support. Create a mutually beneficial channel of communication.

Manage Your Information Intake & Enjoy New Activities

Identify a few reliable sources of information such as www.cdc.gov, www.erie.gov, www.health.ny.gov and the World Health Organization. Commit yourself to only checking these a couple times a day for factual updates. Sensationalistic news increases anxiety.

Try something new! Endless social media scrolling and binge-watching can increase anxiety. Practice mindfulness by going on a walk. Read those books you’ve been meaning to get to. Make crafts or do an art project. Try writing in a journal. Practice mindfulness or meditation. Now is the time to explore a new, enriching activity.

Mental Health Resources

The Erie County Department of Health has set up an information line for residents to call with questions about COVID-19 at 716-858-2929. This hotline will be staffed from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. weekdays. Hours may change based on call volume.

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