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Published on March 20, 2020

Tips for Coping with Anxiety in the Face of COVID-19

As news about the spread of COVID-19 outbreak fills our screens day after day, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and develop anxiety.

“Human beings like certainty and having control over the situation,” said Dr. Nadir Attiah, a psychiatrist with UNC Psychiatry at Goldsboro. He offers his best tips for managing stress and anxiety while we practice social distancing.

  • Know the situation: Follow the news, but choose only one news source to follow. Conflicting news causes anxiety. Also, only check the news one or two times a day, so it doesn’t become overwhelming.
  • Social media: It isn’t a reliable source for news. Use it strictly for socializing with friends and keeping in touch.
  • Enjoy what you can control while social distancing: Enjoy a walk in nature, movie on Netflix with the family or read a book.
  • Continue doing what you like doing: You can’t go to church right now, so watch the stream. You can’t visit friends and family, so Skype or FaceTime with them.
  • Take things seriously when you do them at home: Work, online classes and working out are all important.
  • Spend time with family: It’s important to have quality bonding time. Take pictures, make videos, make memories.
  • Avoid unnecessary appointments: Even your doctors will be happy to cancel well or unnecessary visits or answer questions through virtual visits, phone calls or MyUNCChart.
  • Share what you’re feeling: It can be beneficial to share your anxiety and thoughts with friends. Talk about it, or keep a journal.
  • Ask for help: If you feel overwhelmed and have a counselor or therapist, call them, said Dr. Attiah. If you don’t have a counselor or therapist, ask your doctor if they can send you to see one.

If you are feeling stress or anxiety related to COVID-19, reach out to your primary care provider today.

What To Do If You Have COVID-19 Symptoms?

If you are concerned you have been exposed or have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), click the purple Coronavirus Help tab on the bottom of

This will bring up our coronavirus symptom checker that will lead you through some questions to determine if you need medical follow-up. You can also call your primary care provider.

Do not go to your doctor’s office or an urgent care without first determining if further medical screening is necessary.

If you are having difficulty breathing, call 911 or seek immediate treatment.

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