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If you’ve felt more stressed and anxious than usual or have had trouble sleeping during the last several months, you’re not alone.

Fear and anxiety about a new disease and what might happen can be overwhelming. And, social distancing, one of the public health actions designed to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, can make you feel isolated and lonely.

Especially now, it’s more important than ever to care for your mental health. Here are some healthy ways to cope with stress during this difficult time:

  • Get the facts from reputable sources, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), so that you know how to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community against the virus.
  • Once you have the facts, take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories and social media to reduce the stress you may feel. Hearing about the pandemic or other negative news repeatedly can be upsetting. The American Psychological Association reports: “While most adults (95 percent) say they follow the news regularly, 56 percent say that doing so causes them stress.”
  • Make time to unwind with activities you enjoy, or consider starting a new hobby. Both will help you focus on something else.
  • Connect with friends and loved ones, even if it’s by phone, email or video.
  • Talk with people you trust about your concerns. It will help you feel less isolated.
  • Explore relaxation or wellness programs, which may include meditation, muscle relaxation or breathing exercises.
  • Physical exercise, like walking, jogging or biking, is healthy for your body and mind. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. These chemicals interact with the receptors in your brain to trigger a positive feeling in the body and a more invigorating outlook on life.

Protect your mental health and well-being, as well as your physical health, by eating healthy, well-balanced meals and getting plenty of sleep. Consider using one or more of these tips to help you maintain your mental, emotional and physical health.