Building Resilience to Stress During COVID-19

Offering strategies to manage stress and anxiety to help build your resilience through this pandemic.

While our efforts to shelter in place help protect us and our communities from COVID-19, this sequestering can be challenging. All of us have felt anxiety and worry as this disease has traveled while we sit still.

Whether you are sheltering with your family or live alone, this situation can get overwhelming. Farming is stressful enough; COVID-19 adds to the load that we carry.

Learn More About Building Farm Resilience During COVID-19

Taking care of your own health and wellness is so important right now. That starts with being honest with yourself about how you are doing and reaching out for help if you need it. Sometimes, we need to take a pause, to slow down, cool our jets and think about what we need to be our best selves despite the circumstances.

Resilience is about bouncing back in face of stress. Here are some simple strategies that can help us manage some of our anxiety and stress, to get us back to an even keel:

  • Limit your time on screens.
  • Pause for some deep breathing.
  • Limit your time reading about COVID-19 news.
  • Use reliable news resources.
  • Step out for a walk.
  • Try to stick to routines.
  • Prepare a tasty, healthy meal and eat it!
  • Step away to cool off when tempers flare.
  • Sleep more. Take a short nap after lunch to recharge.
  • Relax. Whether it is a hobby or a game with family, find time to relax and play.
  • Reach out to friends or neighbors who may need to hear your voice or need help.
  • Laugh. Humor can be great medicine.

There are times, though, when the stress and anxiety start to interfere with doing what we want or need to do. If you are finding yourself in that place, please reach out to those who can help. Connect with a trusted mentor or a professional counselor. Make a meaningful connection to help sort through your feelings so you can find a path forward that works for you.

There are many resources available to help you cope with this trying time. Here, we want to share a few resources for your health and wellness, including several related to coping with COVID-19.

Resources to Help with Stress

NY FarmNet has a network of professionals ready to help. If you are concerned about yourself or someone else, reach out (1-800-547-3276).

The Cornell Institute of Food Safety offers information and resources related to managing a food business during COVID-19. They have weekly food industry virtual office hours open to anyone. During these weekly Q&A and facilitated discussions, speak directly to food safety experts in dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables, and processed foods and beverages. Get answers to some of those questions causing uncertainty and stress.

FARM AID Hotline (1-800-FARM-AID) and Farmer Resource Network provides immediate and effective support services to farm families in crisis. They help farmers find the resources to access new markets, transition to more sustainable and profitable farming practices, and survive natural disasters.

Deep breathing and meditation is scientifically proven to fight stress and reduce anxiety. There are many books, apps, and resources to help you if you’ve never tried it (e.g. Headspace, Insight Timer, Calm). Even just 2-3 minutes a day can be effective.

NYS Office of Mental Health has an Emotional Support Helpline (1-844-863-9314) that provides free and confidential support, helping callers experiencing increased anxiety due to the coronavirus emergency.

SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline (1-800-985-5990) provides 24/7 crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE) has advocates available 24/7 to talk to anyone who is experiencing domestic violence, looking for information or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

Kacey Deamer

Kacey is the Communications Manager for the Cornell Small Farms Program. In this role, she manages all storytelling and outreach across the program’s website, social media, e-newsletter, magazine and more. Kacey has worked in communications and journalism for more than a decade, with a primary focus on science and sustainability.