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How to stay positive, cope with stress and anxiety during COVID-19 pandemic

Millions of are experiencing major life changes, and it can be hard to accept so suddenly.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Everyone reacts to stressful situations differently. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Coronavirus outbreak could cause a little stress or anxiety for many. 

According to the CDC, stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

If that's you, you're not alone. 

Millions of people are experiencing major life changes. Schools and businesses are closing. Many are working from home. Many cannot work at all. 

Psychologist Joshua Williams says these lifestyle changes can be hard to accept.

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“We always take great pride as Americans that when bad things happen we come together. Not this time,” said Williams. “This time, we're being told the way we come together is by staying apart, and removing that social support can make it a little more difficult for people.”

Experts say we don't know what the future holds. Instead of focusing on that psychologist Joshua Williams believes we should start thinking out of the box.

“Change can be stressful,” said Williams. “The things we should be doing is looking for new things. The new norm. This will never be normal but how can we make this more of a productive time.”

Here are three ways to stay positive from Dr. Williams and the CDC.   

  • Take a break

You don't have to watch, read or talking about COVID-19 all day. It’s important to stay informed but not consumed.

  • Make time to unwind

Pick up an old hobby. Start a new one. Just do something you enjoy.

  • Take care of yourself

Mind, body and soul. Take a walk. Listen to music. Read something uplifting. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.

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