Trying to manage the stress during this chaotic time can be difficult as the coronavirus continues to cause problems in our daily lives. As important as it is to prepare and take proper precautions, it’s also equally important to prioritize your mental health.

"Although it may be difficult to prioritize your mental health with everything going on, it’s essential to do so," says Hannah Comeaux, LPC-S, LMFT a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. "Stress lowers your immune system, which we need to fight off sickness and diseases. It’s important to make sure that you are keeping your stress level as low as possible."

Here are her tips for lowering stress when it comes to concerns about the virus:

1) Try not to panic. Use this opportunity to practice coping skills and exercises to try to lower the stress. Here are a few coping skills to implement throughout the day:

  • Practice deep breathing exercises.
  • Limit exposure to the news and negativity. Yes, it’s important to be informed about what’s going on with the virus but you also do not want to spend the entire day focused on just the virus. We want to target that energy in a positive direction.
  • Practice self-care by doing things throughout the day to manage stress such as daily exercise and eating heathy to keep your immune system up.
  • Get enough sleep at night.
  • Take a break and go outside for a walk.
  • Limit alcohol or caffeine intake which often triggers anxiety.

2) Try to keep your routine as much as possible. Keeping your routine for yourself and your family on a daily basis helps everyone stay focused on other things so that you are not worried as much about the virus throughout the day. It also helps to bring structure during a chaotic time.

3) Separate your feeling from the truth. You might feel anxious or overwhelmed right now with everything going on, but the truth is that you are fine and you are doing everything you can to stay safe.

4) Focus on what you can do and what is in your control such as keeping up with your personal hygiene, washing your hands and using germ-x often. Do your best to stay clean.

5) Be prepared as much as possible. Have the things you feel like you need stocked in your cabinets. Use this to spend quality time with your family. Taking the proper precautions gives us a sense of security.

LISTEN to her discuss this issue on OFFSIDES with Brandon Comeaux and Shannon Wilkerson: