Coping with Stress

Many of us are facing challenges that can be stressful and overwhelming. Learning to cope with stress in a healthy way will help you, the people you care about, and those around you become more resilient.

Stress can cause the following:

  • Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, worry, numbness, or frustration.
  • Changes in appetite, energy, desires, and interests.
  • Trouble concentrating and making decisions.
  • Nightmares or problems sleeping.
  • Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, or skin rashes.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems and mental health conditions.
  • Increased use of alcohol, illegal drugs (like heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine), and misuse of prescription drugs (like opioids).
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Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress
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Here are some ways you can manage stress, anxiety, grief, or worry:

  • Take breaks from news stories, including those on social media. It’s good to be informed, but constant information about negative events can be upsetting. Consider limiting news to just a couple times a day and disconnecting from phone, TV, and computer screens for a while.
  • Take care of your body: Staying physically healthy can improve your emotional well-being. Here are some ways to improve your health:
    • Eat healthy. Have fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat or no-fat dairy. Limit foods with unhealthy fats, salt, and added sugars. See Healthy Eating Tips.
    • Get enough sleep. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day to help you sleep better. Adults need 7 or more hours per night.
    • Move more and sit less. Every little bit of physical activity helps. Start small and build up to 2 ½ hours a week. You can break it into smaller amounts such as 20 to 30 minutes a day.
  • Limit alcohol intake. Choose not to drink, or drink in moderation on days you drink alcohol. Moderation means having 2 drinks or less a day for men or 1 drink or less for women. Find out more at Drink Less, Be Your Best.
  • Avoid using illegal drugs or prescription drugs in ways other than prescribed. Don’t take someone else’s prescription. Substance use treatment is available, and recovery starts with asking for help.
  • Avoid smoking, vaping, and the use of other tobacco products. People can and do quit smoking for good.
  • Continue with regular health appointments, tests, screenings, and vaccinations.
  •  Make time to unwind. 
    • Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
    • Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. 
    • Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
    • Connect with your community-based or faith-based organizations.