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COVID-19 Stress - A Normal Response to Pandemic

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COVID-19 Stress - A Normal Response to Pandemic

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Dealing with pandemic stress? Read the article to know about COVID-19 stress and its management.

Written by

Dr. Malvika Rao

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published At June 26, 2020
Reviewed AtApril 4, 2024


The fear of being in contact with the virus, of the family becoming sickened, and stress or anxiety related to isolation and quarantine measures. The fear of longer-term impacts of global disruption. An individual might have doubts about oneself and the situation. When the pandemic started, nobody was able to think straight, but once it was acknowledged it is evident that it is affecting us physically and mostly mentally.

What Is Stress?

Although stress is a healthy and natural part of human life, a positive mental attitude is simply a positive response to stress. A person cannot avoid stress, but he/she can always manage it to move forward and lead a productive and happy life. Coronavirus can stir up all sorts of feelings like fear, anxiety, or stress. A little stress can be helpful as it can be the motivator that keeps us self-isolated and to follow hand hygiene. But constant high levels of stress can negatively affect physical and mental health.

Stress affects the following:

  1. Thinking.

  2. Emotions.

  3. Body.

  4. Behavior.


Those situations that increase our stress are called stressors. Anything that poses a challenge or a threat to our well-being is a stressor. It can be-

  • Physical.

  • Psychological (may cause physical distress).

The current stress that the COVID-19 outbreak has brought seems unavoidable. But one can learn to lessen its impact on our life.


Excessive worrying, feeling wound-up, tension or restlessness, and difficulty controlling thoughts and feelings make a person anxious. Having anxiety does not mean a person has a disorder. Most people can be anxious about something from time to time, and it is how an individual can cope with the anxiety that makes all of the difference.

What Is It About COVID-19 That Is So Stressful and Anxiety Provoking?

It affects everyone. It is really important to understand that very few situations that ever affect every single person directly, so it is quite an extraordinary situation that is quite shocking for everyone in a sense. And what makes it difficult is that it can be challenging to escape from it because everyone is talking about it and has an opinion about it. As it affects everyone, it can be quite useful because there is solidarity or a sense that we are all in this together. So it means that there is a significant increase in worldwide stress and anxiety.

Anxiety can be caught when we observe someone else who is stressed or anxious. Our brain will actually light up, and the anxiety enters, and so immediately, we, even without noticing, can have an anxiety response in ourselves. Most people are collectively stressed or anxious that we are not usually, and that can have a great impact on everyone around us.

Tolerance of uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us a lot of uncertainty, and humans generally feel really uncomfortable. With uncertainty, we are not in control, and we do not know what is happening surrounding us.

Information overload. The information around us continually gets updated and revised, and a vast amount of information from a lot of different sources is being flooded around us on a daily basis. As of the current scenario, the situation is getting worse, and it is really hard not to watch a daily report and see a number of cases and not see it as bad news. Everybody certainly is feeling a heightened sense of alertness and an awareness of their stress. It is evident that it is not just physical health that is the concern with COVID-19; all the stress and anxiety and all that information people are getting 24 hours a day have a huge impact on mental health.

What Might Be Noticed?

Poorly managed stress can lead to:

  • Trouble concentrating.

  • Body tension.

  • Increased fatigue.

  • Difficulty sleeping.

  • Eating disturbances.

  • Racing thoughts.

  • Isolating self.

  • Desire to escape.

  • Hypervigilance.

  • Increased pain and discomfort.

  • Emotions, such as fear, grief, and helplessness.

However, well-managed stress can lead to increased wellness, energy, and physical comfort.

People will be experiencing grief and loss about the COVID-19 pandemic for some time to come. In each one of our lives, there are dark events that chronicle the passage of time. So, the stress can not be avoided, especially now, so managing it well is one way to live better and healthier.

What Are the Best Things to Manage Stress and Anxiety During COVID-19 Pandemic?

When an individual is experiencing a lot of stress, just work on the most important tasks for improving life, and for that, a person can use various tools.

1) Maintaining Well-Being -

  1. Focus on the positives.

  2. Calming techniques.

  3. Staying informed.

  4. Professional support.

  5. Do not use the crisis as an excuse to stray from healthy lifestyles.

  6. Resist the urge to use alcohol or other substances as a stress management tool.

In this time of the pandemic, an unprecedented situation, it is imperative to focus on the complete well-being of one's self.

2) A Social Rhythm - It helps regulate our mood, provide daily stability, and a strong foundation for dealing with stressors. Start with creating a daily routine for oneself. An individual should plan every aspect of the day and plan the activities like time to prepare food, exercise, sleep, and other important things, especially if they are going through a difficult time in life. Having a plan for the day will make a person feel more in control. A person will not have to think about or make a decision about what to do next. (Tip - Become an expert in time management. It will reduce stress levels enormously; breaking down every task and activity in a day or week will make the big picture a lot less intimidating).

3) Eat and Do Not Cheat - The simplest way to ease stress and anxiety is by eating, which helps in feeling better, and of course, a well balanced diet ultimately produces a healthy body and mind. However, food can be one tool to deal with stress. A person must make sure that he/she has more than one tool, so one must not always just go for eating to deal with the stress (Tip - Try reducing sugar and caffeine, which can cause energy and mood slumps).

4) Exercise Daily With Mindfulness - It can be very beneficial as it releases endotoxins, which can improve mood. A person can set up at least one cardio exercise session daily routine and body scan mindfulness exercise, a process of paying light to the thoughts. It is a central element to present in the current moment and practice nonjudgmental acceptance of internal stimuli. (Tip - If possible, get fresh air. Sit quietly for 5 to 30 minutes, focusing on breathing, and letting go of thoughts).

5) Breathe Out and Relax - Breathing out for longer can help reduce anxiety. An individual can try techniques such as box breathing, which is easy and can be done. Having anxiety does not mean that there is a disorder anywhere. Concentrating and controlling breathing is a scientifically-backed way of making a person feel calm. Yoga and meditation can immensely help or engage in any physical activity or try a new hobby. Have a warm bath to relax. (Tip - Try breathing in for 4 seconds and breathing out for 8 seconds).

6) Be Mindful of the Toughts About Oneself- A person try to have positive thoughts. So often, we focus on the things we cannot control and neglect the stuff we can influence.

7) Calming Thoughts and Imagination - A gentle approach that allows us to use our imagination to facilitate change and promote physical and mental health can bring increased relaxation. (Tip - Have a positive outlook and be creative).

8) Sleep Well - Getting more rest as a body well taken care of will serve much better in the long run and reduce stress naturally; if the individual is planning the day correctly, then preparing for more sleep should not be a problem. Aim for a regular bedtime. (Tip - Keeping technology out of the bedroom can help).

9) Talk Out (Thoughts That Hurt, Thoughts That Heal) - Thoughts and beliefs can increase or decrease stress, with the awareness of our thoughts and willingness to change the critical self-talk, we can actually learn to be kinder to ourselves and make it just a little easier. Find someone trustworthy and talk to them about the situation that is experienced and ask for advice as sometimes talking about the issues out loud helps reduce the anxiety and stress. (Tip - Contact through email or phone with family and friends. If in case a person does not feel like contacting a known person, contact a counselor).

10) Avoid All the Triggers - Do not use smoking or alcohol or other drugs that deal with emotions, if a person is feeling overwhelmed talk to a health worker or counselor. Be mindful of how the time is spent and with whom it is spent, as toxic people and situations are more harmful during crises. Do not completely withdraw from friends, family, and activities. (Tip - Be realistic about what can be accomplished in an hour or a day).

11) Time Matters - Limit exposure to social media and a 24-hour news cycle. If a person finds the combination of the audio-visual medium too evocative, read or listen to the news and avoid video in order to get the facts and gather the information so that one can take reasonable precautions.


It is normal to feel sad, stressed, scared, frustrated, and angry in the time of crisis. At this time, it is important to know how to cope with the situation. But mostly, draw on the skills that have been used in the past and helped to manage previous life adversities and skills. Manage the challenging time of this outbreak with hope and positivity.

Frequently Asked Questions


How to Deal With COVID-19 Pandemic Stress?

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant stress among people. Some steps to reduce stress include staying informed but limiting news intake, staying connected with others, practicing mindfulness, and seeking professional help. It is normal to feel stressed during this period. However, prioritizing mental health is important.


What Type of Stress Does the COVID-19 Pandemic Brought to Us?

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought different types of stress to people. Some of these include health-related stress like fear of getting infected with the virus, financial stress like job loss, decreased income, financial instability, social stress due to social distancing, emotional stress like dealing with uncertainty, etc.


How To Deal With Stress During the COVID-19 Outbreak? List Down at Least Three Examples.

Dealing with stress during the COVID-19 outbreak can be challenging, but there are several things to cope up with it that include-
 1) Practicing Self-care: Taking care of physical and emotional health by eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. 
 2) Managing Anxiety: Manage anxiety by focusing on things that can be controlled, limiting exposure to news and social media, and seeking professional help if needed.
 3) Follow a Routine: Form a daily routine that includes regular sleep, work or study time, and breaks for relaxation and self-care.


How Stress Has Affected People During COVID?

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a significant amount of stress to people around the world. The pandemic has increased anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Many people have lost their jobs or experienced decreased income due to the pandemic. Social distancing measures can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially for those who live alone or are separated from loved ones.


How To Deal With Stress in a Pandemic Essay?

Practicing self-care is essential. Taking care of physical and emotional health by eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly can help manage stress. Moreover, indulging in activities like reading books, watching movies, or spending time with loved ones can also help.


How Does This Pandemic Affect Thoughts and Feelings About Ourselves?

The pandemic has created a sense of uncertainty and insecurity, leading some people to question their abilities and feel self-doubt. The stress of the pandemic can lead to negative self-talk, such as feeling guilty for not being productive enough. The pandemic has brought about self-awareness, as people reflect on their values, priorities, and goals.


How Do Families Deal With Stress?

Families can deal with stress by implementing a variety of strategies to support each other during challenging times. Family members should feel comfortable discussing their concerns. Offering support to each other can help alleviate stress.


Are People Still Stressed About the Pandemic?

Yes, many people are still stressed about the pandemic. While vaccines have been developed and there have been some improvements in terms of managing the spread of the virus, the pandemic is still ongoing and continues to have a significant impact on people's lives.


How To Motivate Ourselves During This Time of Pandemic?

Motivating ourselves during the pandemic can be challenging, but there are several strategies we can use to stay motivated and focused. Setting achievable goals can help us stay motivated and give us a sense of purpose. Establishing a daily routine can provide structure and help us stay on track.


What Is the Best Solution to Solve This Pandemic?

To solve the COVID-19 pandemic, a coordinated and multifaceted approach is necessary, including vaccination, public health measures, research, global coordination, education, and mental health support. Vaccination is crucial for controlling the spread of the virus and reducing the severity of illness, while public health measures such as social distancing and testing are important for controlling transmission. Continued research is necessary for developing effective treatments and prevention strategies.


What’s Good for Stress?

Reducing stress can be achieved through a variety of strategies. Engaging in regular exercise, practicing mindfulness or meditation, and getting adequate sleep can help reduce stress levels. Engaging in hobbies or activities and seeking social support that brings joy can also have positive effects on stress levels.


What Are the Pandemic Effects on the Mental Health of Students?

The sudden shift to remote learning and social isolation has caused increased stress, anxiety, and depression among students. Additionally, disruptions to academic and extracurricular activities have also contributed to feelings of uncertainty and loss.


How Much Has Stress Increased Since the Pandemic?

Studies have shown that stress levels have increased by over 30% since the start of the pandemic. Factors such as uncertainty, social isolation, and economic hardship have contributed to this increase in stress.
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Dr. Malvika Rao
Dr. Malvika Rao

General Practitioner


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