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Health care worker provides tips to cope with stress, ‘complete upheaval’ of COVID-19 pandemic

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MILWAUKEE -- To try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, people are told to stay at home. And spending a lot of time at home, many find themselves getting a little stir crazy, anxious or stressed.

When it comes to the coronavirus, there's a lot we already know.

Dr. Nicole Brady

"We know that it's primarily a respiratory virus so people are getting fevers, coughs, shortness of breath," said Dr. Nicole Brady with UnitedHealthcare.

But there are some things we didn't expect. Specifically, the virus' impact on people who aren't infected.

"A lot of us are feeling kind of anxious, worried, stressed, we're maybe not sleeping as well as usual, we might have some stomach upset," Brady said. "Things that have nothing really to do with the actual infection, but that are kind of manifesting themselves as we've had a complete upheaval in how we're managing our lives."

The stress of the virus is being felt by everyone, but, like every doctor, Brady has a plan to help us get better.

"We have to step back and say, first, that we recognize this," said Brady. "And then you can say, 'Do I have any triggers?'"

Identifying stressors and struggles comes first. Then, take steps to correct it.

"There are things that we can do that will put some normalcy into our life, and help us feel just a little bit better," Brady said.

Getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, exercising and reaching out to a friend or your doctor can help ease the mental health strain of living through the pandemic.

"We will get through this. It's going to be tough, and it's going to be stressful, but we will get through it," said Brady.

Brady also stressed the benefits of unplugging; turning off social media and news for a time can help keep you grounded and relaxed. If you need help combating the emotional stress of the coronavirus, there are resources available:

  • 24/7 Optum Emotional Support Hotline: 1-866-342-6892
  • Sanvello self-help app: available for free in the App Store and on Google Play
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