Coping with the uncertainty of pandemic life is no easy task. Learn to recognize the signs of pandemic-related stress, and access free tools to aid in stress management. COVID is stressful. StrengthenME can help.
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- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
- Fear and worry about your health or the health of loved ones.
- Changes in sleeping or eating patterns.
- Feelings of sadness or grief.
- Excessively irritability or impatience.
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other substances.
- Difficulty setting priorities or making decisions.
- Worsening of mental health conditions.
It’s important to remember such reactions are normal. In a time of isolation, uncertainty, and the ongoing threat of illness, it is reasonable to feel overwhelmed, exhausted or experience other stress reactions.
If you or someone you care about is experiencing COVID-related stress, simple steps can make a difference:
- Take care of your body with regular exercise, sleep, and healthy meals.
- Make time to unwind.
- Practice deep breaths, stretching, or meditation.
- Take breaks from news and social media.
- Connect with people you trust and care about, and community- or faith-based organizations.
- Make time for activities you enjoy.
- Prioritize your emotional health.
- Avoid excessive alcohol or substance use.
If you or someone you care about is having trouble coping with COVID-stress, talking to someone can help. The StrengthenME Phone Line operates 8am – 8 pm, 7 days a week, at (207) 221-8198 or 866-367-4588. A number of other free resources are also available:
- Maine Intentional Peer Warmline — a mental health peer-to-peer phone support line for adults, operates 24/7: 1-866-771-9276
- NAMI Maine Teen Text Support Line — a peer support text line for youth 14 – 20 years old, operates every day 12pm – 10pm: (207) 515-8398
- Maine Crisis Hotline — 24-hour crisis hotline and speak with a trained crisis clinician, operates 24/7: 1-888-568-1112
- Maine FrontLine WarmLine — support line for hospital, emergency, school personnel and others responding directly to the pandemic in Maine, operates every day 8am – 8 pm: (207) 221-8196
- Maine 211 — connects callers to a complete listing of health and human services, operates 24/7: Dial 211
- Maine Domestic Violence Hotline — connects callers with advocates at Domestic Violence Resource Centers: 1-866-834-4357
Digital tools can provide guidance and support for relaxation, wellness, stress management and more.
- Headspace — a mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy app, available for both iOS and Android
- iBreathe — diaphragmatic breathing techniques for stress control, available on iOS and on Android
- Virtual Hope Box — offers simple tools to help with coping, relaxation, distraction, and positive thinking, available on iOS and on Android
- Mindfulness Coach — supports grounding in the present moment, available on iOS and on Android
- Emotional Wellness Toolkit (English / en español ) — a guide for building an Emotional Wellness Toolkit for resilience in an ever changing environment. Download pdf here.
Spending time outside is a great way to reduce stress. It gets us away from digital devices and news feeds, and offers a different different pace from work, school or home life. Maine has a wealth of outdoor opportunities that remain available despite pandemic restrictions. Maintain social distancing protocols, but enjoy a stress relief break via the great outdoors.
Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands Find Parks and Lands helps locate information on a range of outdoor destinations.
Online videos provide easy access to coping, wellness and self-care tips and strategies.
Creating a Self-Care Backpack
Stress Management Techniques for Frontline Workers