Volume One Special Coverage: Pulling Together While Staying Apart


Stress in the Time of COVID-19: How Adults and Children Can Manage Ongoing Anxiety

Yia Lor

We all experience stress at one point or another, and it’s a normal part of life. It can motivate us to succeed in a job interview, and it can even save our life when we encounter a bear in the woods. But what happens when we encounter that bear every day? Dealing with long-term stress – such as the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – can cause harm to our health as our body never receives the signal to calm down. Some physical symptoms may include an upset stomach and trouble sleeping. Stress can also impact our mental health if it causes us to feel worried or angry.

Below are some tips to help manage stressful times:

  • Get in some movement every day.
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
  • Do something relaxing, such as meditation or yoga.
  • Make time for activities you enjoy.
  • Keep in touch with family, friends, and others in your community.
  • Be sure to get plenty of sleep.
  • Take a break from social media and news media.

If you feel overwhelmed and have difficulty coping, reach out to your doctor or a health professional.

Children also deal with stress that can impact their daily lives. Parents and caregivers should watch for changes in behavior (such as excessive crying, unhealthy sleeping habits, avoidance of activities they enjoyed, and unexplained body aches).

Here are some ways to support children:

  • Encourage them to talk about their concerns.
  • Create a sense of structure by sticking with a routine.
  • Correct misinformation, and limit exposure to social media and news media.
  • Spend time together doing fun and relaxing activities.
  • Be a role model, and take care of yourself because kids look to adults for how to respond. Division of Extension offers a workshop called “Taking Care of You” (https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/takingcareofyou/) which teaches adults how to reduce stress in their body, mind, and spirit.

Everyone handles stress differently, and the key is to finding what works for you. Whether or not you are experiencing stress at the moment, take some time today to focus on your own mental health and well-being. Create a self-care plan and practice it even when you are not stressed so that you are prepared for when the bear wanders into your life.

Yia Lor is a human development and relationships educator with Eau Claire County Extension as well as a Volume One contributor.

Lasker Jewelers
Lasker Jewelers

Pulling Together Partners

The following organizations are currently supporting Volume One’s work in the community during the pandemic:

Lasker Jewelers

L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Eau Claire

Downtown Eau Claire Inc DECI

University of Wisconsin Eau Claire

Pablo Group

Wisconsin Independent Network

Middle West Management

Bon Iver

Royal Credit Union

Silver Spring

Evergreen Surgical

Charter Bank

Chippewa Valley Technical College

The Murty Henriksen Family

The Larry and Marie Past Family

The Dan and Kerry Kincaid Family

Anton and Rae Schilling-Smets

Brady and Jeanne Foust

If your organization is interested in supporting Volume One during this difficult time, nick@volumeone.orgcontact us.