How to deal with the stress of coronavirus concerns

Posted at 4:52 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-13 21:39:14-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. — Keeping up with the ever-changing information surrounding the coronavirus pandemic can take a physical toll on your body.

If you’re feeling stressed, you’re not alone. But experts say people shouldn’t panic, because panic just creates more panic.

Gary Rotfus is a clinical social worker at Fairfield Psychological Associates. He says it’s normal for people to feel stressed out about the spread of coronavirus.

“There are so many changes and so many cancellations that impact our everyday lives. That’s part of the difficulty - maintaining that predictability and maintaining that routine.”

Rotfus suggests people should find a balance between staying informed but not getting too much information.

“Once you hear a news report for the day, I don’t think you need to watch again in an hour. You may want to watch again that evening and get an update and find out what the CDC is recommending at this point in the day.”

It may be easier said than done, but limiting how much you talk about the illness can also be beneficial.

“Try and maintain a sense of normalcy and some sense of a schedule,” Rotfus said.

If you do need to talk about it, don’t be afraid to talk about your fears with someone you trust.

Rotfus says parents with young children should make sure kids are getting-age appropriate information.

“Explain to them that this is something a little bit more serious perhaps than a cold, but you don’t want to go into the magnitude of it and the fact that people can die," Rotfus said. "Depending on the age of the child, you’re really going to frighten them and they’re not going to be able to conceptualize what that means.”

If the stress of making the preparations, getting the right supplies or finding empty shelves at the grocery store is getting to you, just remember: This too shall pass.

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