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 COVID-19 It can affect people physically, as well as psychologically. During these trying times, many people will experience stress, anxiety, and depression reactions.  

What is stress?

Stress is a normal physiological response to an abnormal situation. As such, it is part and parcel of our lives. It enables our body to adapt to the multiplicity of positive and negative events that we experience, like birth, marriage, loss of employment, etc. Stress comes and goes on its own, depending on what factors are involved. 

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a response to a vague or unknown threat. Anxiety manifests itself when we believe that a dangerous or unfortunate event may take place and are expecting it. Everyone experiences anxiety to their degree and intensity. How the anticipated event is perceived will greatly influence the intensity of the anxiety experience.

What is depression?

The dictionary defines depression as a passing state of lassitude, discouragement, and sadness. Depression can appear in a variety of physical and psychological ways. Its intensity varies from one person to the next.

Symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression

Stress, anxiety, and depression can appear in a variety of physical, psychological, emotional, and behavioral ways for any given individual.

Physical symptoms

  • Headaches, neck tension, gastrointestinal problems, etc.

  • Sleep problems

  • Lower appetite

  • Lower energy, fatigue

  • Etc.

Psychological and emotional symptoms

  • Virus-related worries and insecurity

  • Feelings of being overwhelmed by events, powerlessness

  • Self-verbalization that does not always reflect reality

  • The negative vision of things or daily events

  • Feelings of discouragement, insecurity, sadness, anger, etc.

Behavioral symptoms

  • Difficulty in concentrating

  • Irritability, aggression

  • Crying

  • Withdrawal, insularity

  • Difficulty in taking decisions

  • Increased use of alcohol, drugs, and/or medication

  • Etc.

Grounding Exercises:
Keep your eyes open, look around the room, notice your surroundings, notice details.

• Hold a pillow, stuffed animal or a ball.

• Place a cool cloth on your face, or hold something cool such as a can of soda.

• Listen to soothing music

• Put your feet firmly on the ground

• FOCUS on someone’s voice or a neutral conversation.


Take care of yourself

  • Be attentive to your feelings, emotions, and reactions, and allow yourself to voice them to someone you trust. Write them down or express them through physical or other types of activity.

  • Make use of a physical activity to let the stress out and eliminate tension.

  • Practice healthy living habits like proper nutrition and sufficient sleep.

  • Limit your access to stressors.

  • Allow yourself life’s little pleasures such as listening to music, taking a warm bath, reading, etc.

  • Remain in contact with people that do you good.

  • Remind yourself of winning strategies you used in the past to get through difficult times.

  • Count on your strengths.

  • Set limits for yourself, such as refusing a task that you do not want to do and that is non-essential.

  • Learn to delegate and let others help you (this might be asking your children to do the dishes).

Build self-care into your day, even (and especially) as activities change and routines are disrupted. All the things you do to take care of yourself will help manage your stress. And by taking good care of yourself, you’ll be better prepared to take care of others. Some self-care ideas:

  • Meditate

  • Play a board game

  • Practice deep breathing

  • Take a bath

  • Read about something other than the virus

  • Cuddle your pet

  • Start a digital detox (leave your phone alone for a while)

  • Exercise

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