Dealing with stress during COVID-19

Dealing with Stress?

Dealing with stress during COVID-19 is common. Social distancing makes it even harder for everyone to communicate their feelings easily to others. This article will help you understand who is at higher risk, how you can help, and emergency numbers you can call if further help is needed.

Three quick things you can do now to reduce stress;

  1. Breathe. Stop and take three big breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Close your eyes and visualize a place that brings you joy. Rest in that moment until you feel your heart rate slow down.♥
  2. Phone a friend. Chances are someone else needs to hear a friendly voice as well. Share your concerns, and let them share theirs with you.♥
  3. Look for the good. Every day has something beautiful in it. IE; If you are reading this, it means you are alive and have your eyesight. Keep it simple. The sun is shining, you have a roof over your head and food in your belly.♥


Coping with change and fear… who is affected, and what can you do?

Schools have cancelled, lay offs, working from home and fear of COVID-19 can all trigger stress in many of us. You are not alone. We all deal with stress in different ways. Some will struggle more than others.

Those who may struggle more than others include;

  • Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19
  • Children and teens
  • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19 such as healthcare workers, grocery store clerks, firemen, cleaning crews and countless other essential workers.
  • People who have mental health conditions; including problems with substance use.

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include;

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

Things you can do to support yourself; ♥

  • Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress.
  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
  •  Allow yourself time to relax and unwind. Do things you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

 *Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily routine.


Children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.

Everyone reacts to stress differently, including young children and teens. Watch for these changes;

  • Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
  • Returning to behaviors they have outgrown. IE; bed wetting
  • Excessive worry or sadness
  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
  • Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
  • Poor school performance or avoiding school
  • Difficulty with attention and concentration
  • Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
  • Unexplained headaches or body pain
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

There are many things you can do to support your child;

  • Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
  • Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is o.k if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you. Teach them ways to react to stress, such as deep breaths or meditation.
  • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
  • Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
  • Be a role model.  Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.
  • Get more involved with what makes them happy. Play a game, go for a walk or make a silly video with them on Tik Tok ( An APP most teens are on) There are many new Facebook groups such as Quaratine Karaoke that families can take part in together.♥

Emergency numbers for Maine:

Maine statewide crisis hotline

Open 24 hours a day.
If you need immediate help, or you are in a crisis

Maine “warm” line

The toll free number is: 1-866-771-9276
In Greater Portland the local number is: 207-772-9276.
Open 24 hours a day.
Provided by Amistad, Portland, Maine

The warm line is a place to call when you need to connect with someone. Reasons for calling might be needing support, feeling isolated, or learning about some recovery skills. Some call because they are feeling frightened, sad, or had a great day or wanted to share a success. It is not a crisis line, but rather a place to talk and be listened to.

Who answers the calls?

Peer supporters, all of whom have personal experience with mental illness and recovery, answer the calls. The staff of the Maine Warm Line have been there and know firsthand the struggles of living with a mental illness. They can share their experience, wisdom, knowledge and empathy to those that call the warm line.

2-1-1 Maine

Dial 211 – Out of state call 1-877-463-6207
One number – thousands of services. 2-1-1 is an easy-to-remember number that connects people who want to give help or get help with a full range of health and human services in their community. Visit for more information.

Poison Control Center

In Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, the Northern New England Poison Center provides immediate treatment advice for poison emergencies.

Suicide Prevention

1-888-568-1112 (Voice/TTY) (Crisis Hotline)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Sexual assault hotline

1-800-871-7741 (Voice) 711 (Maine Relay)
A 24-hour statewide sexual assault crisis and support line providing confidential services free of charge.

Domestic violence hotline

Statewide Domestic Violence Helpline.
Visit – Information, crisis counseling, emotional support and advocacy.

Alcoholics Anonymous

During business hours, your call will be taken by a member of Alcoholics Anonymous who knows exactly what you are going through and can give you all the information you need. At night, we have a well qualified answering service, who can give meeting information, or put you in touch with an recovering alcoholic, in your area, who will speak with you.


Staffed by volunteers answering phones, providing literature, and keeping meeting information.
Visit for more information.

Narcotics Anonymous

Call their helpline and talk to a recovering addict. Visit for further information.