When you are involved in a public health crisis or the threat of a potential public health incident, these events can affect your personal health and well-being. Everyone — adults, teens, and even children, experiences stress and each one uniquely. Stress is a mental, physical, and emotional strain resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. Stress can result from any change, whether positive (e.g. preparing for a wedding) or negative (e.g. dealing with a natural disaster).

Learning healthy ways to cope and getting the right care and support can help reduce stressful feelings and symptoms. During stressful times, it is imperative to monitor your physical and mental health. Learn to recognize the signs of stress and know when to implement healthy behaviors.

Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress:

Feeling emotional and nervous or having trouble sleeping and eating can all be normal reactions to stress. Here are some healthy ways you can deal with stress:

  • Take Care of Yourself
    • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals and drink plenty of water
    • Relax your body often by doing what works for you — take deep breaths, stretch, exercise, go for a walk, meditate, engage in pleasurable hobbies, or something as simple as washing your face and hands
    • Get plenty of sleep
    • Give yourself a break if you start to feel stressed out
  • Talk to others. Share your problems about your feelings with a parent, friend, counselor, doctor, or pastor
  • Take a break
    • If news events are causing your stress, take a break from listening or watching the news
    • Use time off to relax — eat a good meal, read, listen to music, take a bath or talk to family
  • Recognize when you need more help. If problems continue or you are thinking about suicide, talk to a psychologist, social worker, or professional counselor

Pay Attention to Your Body, Feelings and Spirit:

  • Recognize and heed early warning signs of stress: increased or decreased energy, irritability, outbursts, difficulty relaxing or sleeping, placing blame others, difficulty communicating, headaches, loss of appetite (or overeating) sweating and chills, depression, guilt, anger, apathy, sadness, difficulty remembering things, confusion, excessive worrying, difficulty making decisions
  • Recognize how your own experiences affect your way of handling an event. Focus on the ways you handled previous stressful events well
  • Connect with your community support
  • Take time to pray and connect to your community of faith

How to Help Children and Adolescents

  • Provide a safe environment
  • Remain calm — children and adolescents will mimic your behavior
  • Keep normal routines
  • Share age-appropriate information
  • Prevent or limit media exposure
  • Practice active listening
  • Teach coping skills:
    • Slow breathing
    • Counting
    • Calming music
    • Soft pillows, blankets or stuffed animals

HCM is committed to providing physical, medical, and informational support to our community during this time. Follow the HCM Wellness Center on Facebook to view Live and recorded exercise classes. We also make provisions for your spiritual and emotional health and can connect you to a chaplain or social worker by phone, as you need. To reach us, please call the HCM Information Line at 830.990.6100, and ask for a chaplain or social worker. You can also call the hospital chaplain’s office at 830.990.6125 or the Homecare/Hospice mainline at 830.990.1336 and ask for support.

COVID-19 Spiritual resources