Coping with stress amid COVID-19 pandemic

Health

Coping with stress amid COVID-19 pandemic

Sunday, March 22, 2020

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IT is normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared, or angry during a crisis, especially now while the world is trying feverishly to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Locally, the Government has announced a slew of measures to contain the virus since confirming the country's first case almost two weeks ago. Since then, Jamaica has confirmed 19 COVID-19 cases, including one death.

Understandably, emotions are high among adults and, let's not forget children. Here are some ways to cope with stress, as well as how to help children cope with stress during this crisis.

How you can cope

Talking to people you trust can help. Contact your friends and family.

If you must stay at home, maintain a healthy lifestyle including proper diet, sleep, exercise, and social contacts with loved ones at home, and by e-mail and phone with other family and friends.

Don't use smoking, alcohol or other drugs to deal with your emotions.

If you feel overwhelmed, talk to a health worker or counsellor. Have a planregarding where to go to and how to seek help for physical and mental health needs if required.

Get the facts. Gather information that will help you accurately determine your risk so that you can take reasonable precautions. Find a credible source you can trust, such as the World Health Organization website or the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

Limit worry and agitation by lessening the time you and your family spend watching or listening to media coverage that you perceive as upsetting.

Draw on skills you have used in the past that have helped you to manage previous life adversities, and use those skills to help you manage your emotions during the challenging time of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

How to help children cope

Children may respond to stress in different ways, such as being more clingy, anxious, withdrawn, angry or agitated, and many also begin bedwetting.

Respond to your child's reactions in a supportive way, listen to their concerns and give them extra love and attention.

Children need adults' love and attention during difficult times. Give them extra time and attention.

Remember to listen to your children; speak kindly and reassure them.

If possible, make opportunities for the child to play and relax.

Try to keep children close to their parents and family, and avoid separating children and their caregivers to whatever extent possible. If separation occurs ( for example hospitalisation), ensure regular contact (for example via phone) and reassurance.

Keep to regular routines and schedules as much as possible, or help create new ones in a new environment, including school/learning as well as time for safely playing and relaxing.

Provide facts about what has happened, explain what is going on now, and give them clear information about how to reduce their risk of being infected by the disease in words that they can understand, depending on their age.

This also includes providing information about what could happen in a reassuring way (for example, a family member and/or the child may begin feeling unwell and may have to go to the hospital for some time so doctors can help them feel better).

Source: World Health Organization


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