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Cleveland Clinic shares 10 tips to manage stress about the COVID-19 pandemic

It can be easy to get frustrated as positive cases continue to rise; the Clinic is here to help you cope.

CLEVELAND — Editor's Note: The above story aired on September 24, 2020

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge, it can be easy to get bogged down with stress and frustration. 

That's why Cleveland Clinic is here to help you manage those negative feelings. "People are feeling frustrated, stressed and, in some cases, depressed about the future," Cleveland Clinic psychologist Susan Albers, PsyD. said in a recent blog post. To help manage those feelings, Dr. Albers has a list of 10 strategies to help you find some stress relief. 

First on the list is taking (some) control. "We like it when things are in our control," Dr. Albers says. "Make a list of the things you can control and put your energy toward those things." This can be something simple, like focusing on what time you go to bed each night.

It can be overwhelming to imagine what the world will look like in the future. That's why you should focus on being in the present and take it one day at a time. A lot of sadness that people are feeling can come from thinking about what you are missing. By focusing on what you are missing from the past, you are preventing yourself from finding the positives in your life. Dr. Albers suggests you should stop comparing past and present to relieve some stress. 

"People are holding their breath, waiting for whatever is coming next. But we shouldn't put our lives on pause," Dr. Albers continues. "Continue to live and grow and use this time to find ways to enjoy yourself."

You should also give your brain a break from making decisions. So much of our daily routines were upended by the coronavirus and it's important to reestablish some normalcy to prevent stress in this new world.

Dr. Albers also suggests finding the silver linings. These might not be the easiest to find nowadays, but focusing on the positives can help get you through the day. "The way we think about a situation can be a help or a hindrance," Dr. Albers writes. "Look at this as an opportunity to find the positives."

Finding new ways to de-stress is also crucial. Focusing on trying new things, as opposed to dwelling on old coping strategies that are no longer working, is important. "Instead of thinking of it as a loss, think of it as a chance to evolve," Dr. Albers says. 

It goes without saying that there has been a major loss of social connection, which can often times be one of the hardest parts of life in the pandemic. But staying connected with people is healthy to destress, even if it's just a phone conversation with a friend. And while you're at it, take advantage of this time to work through your feelings. Talking about the ups and downs with a friend or writing can be ways to express your pent up feelings. 

Lastly, get help if you need it. If you are feeling really down, Dr. Albers suggests reaching out to a mental health professional to manage your stress. "This is such a stressful time. If you're experiencing signs of depression, a mental health professional can offer support."

Editor's Note: The below story aired in October of 2020

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