Managing Fears and Anxiety around Coronavirus

As information about the novel coronavirus unfolds, there can be a wide range of thoughts, feelings, and reactions. Remember to recognize that everyone is having different responses and that over the next few days or weeks you may experience periods of:

  • Difficulty concentrating and sleeping           
  • Anxiety, worry, panic
  • Anger                           
  • Feeling helplessness
  • Hyper-vigilance to your health and body       
  • Social withdrawal

There are many simple and effective ways to manage fears and anxieties. Many of them are essential ingredients for a healthy lifestyle; adopting them can help improve overall emotional and physical well-being.

Get the Facts

  • Ask children what they have heard about COVID-19, and allow them to express feelings or concerns. Let them know it is okay to be afraid or mad and help them deal with those feelings.
  • If children are watching television, watch with them, and be available to answer questions about things they see or hear on COVID-19.
  • How to talk to kids about COVID-19 from the CDC.
  • Latest COVID-19 from the Vermont Department of Health.

Keep Things in Perspective

Stick to a Schedule

  • Let kids know that any changes in routine are because adults at home or school are taking care of their health and safety.
  • Keep activities as consistent and routine as possible in the home or childcare setting.

Be Mindful of Assumptions About Others

  • Not everyone who has a cough or a fever necessarily has the virus. 
  • Self-awareness is important in not stigmatizing others in our community.
  • Connect individual action to the common good by using a broad ‘us.’ A narrow focus on personal behaviors can prevent people seeing how the virus works. Use language and examples that emphasize collective action and shared outcomes.
  • Avoid labels that suggest weakness or separation from society such as “vulnerable groups” as a blanket term. None of us like to think of ourselves as weak – so warnings to “the vulnerable” can be dismissed as intended for someone else. Use person-first phrasing instead.

Stay Healthy

  • Avoid contact with others who are sick.
  • Stay home while sick with any illness during this time. 
  • Staying healthy also includes behaviors such as eating well, sleeping well, and spending time outside.

Keep Connected

  • Stay in touch with friends, check-in with loved ones. 
  • Continuing social interaction even through phone, email and video can help maintain a sense of normalcy, and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress. 

Seek Additional Help

  • Individuals who feel overwhelming worry or anxiety can seek additional professional mental health support.
  • Crisis Textline Text: “Home” to 741741
  • Pathways Vermont Support Line: Reach out to your neighbors, connect with your chosen family, and call or text the Pathways Vermont Support Line. Open from 3 PM to 6 AM. Connect with an operator by dialing (833) VT – TALKS / (833) 888 – 2557
  • Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with the Coronavirus (Covid-19)  The National Child Traumatic Stress Network 
  • Reach out to the Vermont Network for support around domestic and sexual violence.
  • Hunger Free Vermont offers excellent resources on how to access healthy food.