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How to Cope During and After a Disaster

With weeks and months of the Coronavirus pandemic ahead, it is important to have down time. Here are some technique to deal with anxiety and worries.

  • Acknowledge: Notice and acknowledge the uncertainty as it comes to mind.
  • Pause: Don’t react as you normally do. Don’t react at all. Pause and breathe.
  • Pull back: Tell yourself this is just the worry talking, and this apparent need for certainty is not helpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or feeling. Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are not statements or facts.
  • Let go: Let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. You don’t have to respond to them. You might imagine them floating away in a bubble or cloud.
  • Explore: Explore the present moment, because right now, in this moment, all is well. Notice your breathing and the sensations of your breathing. Notice the ground beneath you. Look around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell. Right now. Then shift your focus of attention to something else – on what you need to do, on what you were doing before you noticed the worry, or do something else – mindfully with your full attention.

The mind and body recommends continuing to access nature and sunlight wherever possible. Do exercise, eat well and stay hydrated. Here are some of the mental health practices to make sure to keep doing:

  • Have a routine (as much as you can)
  • Start an at-home exercise routine
  • Get outside in nature (if you can)
  • Declutter your home
  • Meditate or just breathe
  • Maintain community and social connection
  • Be of service from a distance
  • Practice gratitude
  • Let yourself off the hook



We are in this together, and help is always available. If you’re feeling alone and struggling, you can also reach out to The Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741 or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.


HNNCSB Preventions Services is a division of the Hampton/Newport News Community Services Board.