Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. The changes that can happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ways we try to contain the spread of the virus can affect anyone. During times of increased social distancing, people can still maintain social connections and care for their mental health.
You may experience increased stress during this pandemic. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions. It’s important to take care of your family and friends, but it should be balanced with care for yourself. Coping with stress during COVID-19 will make you, your loved ones, and your community stronger.
COVID-19 has brought many changes to daily life. Even people who felt like they were coping well early on, started feeling the stress as the pandemic continued. People were worried about work, paying bills, or children going to school (at home or in person). Many of us missed seeing family and friends during the holidays.
As more of us are getting vaccinated and some restrictions are being lifted or eased, some people are feeling concerned about “life returning to normal.” Will visiting friends and family put them at risk? Is it safe to return to pre-COVID activities? What will my workplace be like after COVID? These concerns may contribute to you feeling anxious, afraid, easily frustrated, or angry.
What can you do once you are fully vaccinated?
Recommendations for fully vaccinated people are updated as new information is made available. We know that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing severe COVID-19 disease and that other prevention steps help stop the spread of COVID-19 even more. If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing many things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic, like visiting your grandchildren or hugging your best friend.
When choosing safer activities, consider how COVID-19 is spreading in your community, the number of people taking part in the activity, and the location of the activity. Outdoor visits and activities are safer than indoor activities, and fully vaccinated people can safely participate in some indoor events, without much risk. If you have not yet been fully vaccinated, you should continue to protect yourself and others by following public health recommendations that help stop the spread including wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, and washing your hands often. To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
- Fully vaccinated means 2 weeks or more have passed since getting the second dose of a two-dose vaccine (e.g.,Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine), or 2 weeks or more have passed since getting 1 dose of a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen). This also applies to COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (e.g., AstraZeneca/Oxford).
- If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may not be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated. You should continue taking all precautions until your healthcare provider says you no longer need to do so.
For More Information:
For General Public:
- Read VDH's FAQs about Stress and Coping with COVID-19 located under the “COVID-19 Basics” section.
- Visit CDC’s Stress and Coping for more on how you can plan, prepare, and cope with stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Read WHO’s illustrated guide for more information on coping with adversity and for more recommendations on stress management.
- Read Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Lifestyle Stress management for coping with holiday stress during COVID-19.
For Children and Teens:
- Visit CDC’s Ensure Children's Wellbeing During COVID-19: Parental Resources Kit for information on children and young people’s social, emotional, and mental health.
- Visit CDC’s Helping Children Cope with Emergencies for information on what you can do to help children cope with an emergency.
- Read American Academy of Pediatrics’s guide on Mental Health During COVID-19: Signs Your Child May Need More Support to recognize signs of stress in teens and children.
For Healthcare Providers and Healthcare Workers:
- Visit VDH’s Workforce Wellness for additional resources for public health workers and others during COVID-19.
- Visit VDH’s COVID-19 Mental Health Resources for First Responders webpage
- Read VDH's FAQs about Stress and Coping with COVID-19 located under the “COVID-19 Basis” section and General Questions located under the “Healthcare Providers” section.
- Visit CDC’s webpages:
- AMA: Managing mental health during COVID-19
- AHA: COVID-19: Stress and Coping Resources | AHA
- Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress: Sustaining the Well-Being of Healthcare Personnel during Coronavirus and other Infectious Disease Outbreaks
- Inter-Agency Standing Committee: Guidance on Basic Psychosocial Skills- A Guide for COVID-19 Responders
- Mental Health America: COVID-19 - Frontline Workers
- Minnesota Department of Health: Mental Health and Resiliency Tools for Health Care Workers
- SAMHSA Psychological First Aid for First Responders: Preventing and Managing Stress
- Visit Mindful Healthcare Collective for free, evidence-based sessions (including yoga, meditation, mindfulness) to reduce stress for all healthcare professionals.
- Learn general concepts adapted by the Healthcare Resilience Task Force Behavioral Work Group Prehospital Team to prepare and take action to help your EMS/911 agency protect your workers’ psychological health and well-being here
Page last reviewed: October 12, 2021