COVID-19 Stress Management & Mental Health


Many of us don’t realize how stress impacts our behavior. Anxiety and stress can manifest in how we feel, respond to others, and how we feel about ourselves. In times of uncertainty, it helps to pay special attention to how we process stress in unexpected ways, and how to channel that energy to serve us better.
Our mission at Brighter, Stronger Foundation is to empower people from all walks of life to lead independent, fulfilling lives. We’re here to support you, and we are still working hard to ensure our community is safe, supported, and healthy.

How Stress Affects You and What to Do About It

Have you ever felt cranky and got upset over something small, and then realized it was just because you hadn’t slept well or were hungry? Anxiety is similarly sneaky and can affect behavior and our responses to life’s little inconveniences, especially when compounded by lack of sleep, poor diet, or loss of your normal routine.

Some people might react to others more negatively than usual. Being home with your entire family, unable to get away for work or other activities, can make tensions build. If you find that you’ve been snippy with your family, or you have less patience than you normally would, know that this is a normal response to stress and anxiety. If someone in your family seems to act differently, they may be experiencing the same thing without realizing it. Be patient and look for ways to give each other space to manage stress.

Recognizing that your behavior and others’ actions may be the result of stress and anxiety is important. Know that you have control over your own reactions to situations and it’s okay to feel a little bit less like yourself.

Action Steps to Manage Anxiety

Although it may not seem like it right now, you have control over how you feel. Here are some ways to reduce stress and anxiety.

Establish a routine, even if it’s different

If you’re working from home, try to keep regular working hours in a dedicated office space. This is easier said than done, especially in more challenging living situations, but even a different routine can help preserve structure.
Children and adults with autism benefit from routine, so even if it’s not the same as their usual one, developing an at-home routine can help reduce maladaptive behavior. It’s normal to feel frustrated at not being able to do the same activities, but having some type of ritual or schedule is key for individuals who need it.

Reduce your media intake, but stay informed

You don’t have to listen to everything you hear. Follow national, state, and local authorities, but don’t feel like you have to keep the news on all day. Set aside a time to check in on what actually affects you, like checking or your local news website once a day to see if there are any updates.
Constantly receiving distressing news updates will make you feel distressed and worried. The best thing to do in a crisis is to remain calm and recognize what we can control. Follow CDC guidelines, listen to local leaders, and keep the media intake to a minimum.

Don’t put pressure on yourself

You don’t have to make the most out of this unexpected block of free time. You don’t have to finally start that creative pursuit, do all of your home improvement projects, or learn to bake bread. If you truly want to try something new, go for it! But don’t put pressure on yourself to be productive if it’s not really aligned with what you want to do right now. It’s okay to just want to relax and watch TV or use your existing coping strategies to feel better.

Get outside, but safely

Governor Hogan’s stay-at-home order doesn’t mean staying inside for weeks. Walking the dog, walks around the neighborhood, or even sitting outside for a little while can make a huge difference in your mood. It’s springtime, the weather is turning nicer, and nature is blooming -- we don’t have to miss out.

Additional Resources

Check out these additional resources to help you manage your mental health:

Brighter Stronger Foundation

6 Nashua Court Suite B,

Baltimore, MD 21221

Phone. 410-574-0000 F:410-574-0002


Brighter Stronger Foundation

3465 Boxhill Corporate Center Dr.,

Ste 200,

Abingdon, MD 21009