How to Cope When You Feel Overwhelmed

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When talk of a virus outbreak hits close to home, it’s normal to feel stressed about a potential pandemic and emerging health crisis. No matter how you're feeling, New Directions can help.

Visit à Resources à Self-help tools for the latest on COVID-19. 

Access the Health Resource Library for the latest on the virus, including the flu. Here you'll find:

  • Resources related to the current spread of the illness
  • Steps to take to prepare a viral outbreak in your community
  • Ways to prevent spreading the infection
  • Typical ways people respond to traumatic exposure
  • The difference between a virus or bacterium

Try these tips if you're feeling overwhelmed or fearful about an outbreak.

1.  Don’t inflate the risk

Our brains are used to taking something that is made to sound scary and unknown, and inflating the risk of it actually happening to us. It’s a part of our brain’s intrinsic, built-in fight-or-flight response. Big and scary gets attention. Ordinary but also potentially bad for our well-being gets less attention.

2. Take normal, healthy precautions

Both flu and coronaviruses are spread through everyday contact, through touch, a cough or a sneeze. If you’re sick, stay home and don’t go to work. If you’re not sick, avoid close contact with a person who is and engage in healthy habits when it comes to cleanliness. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. Carry a small travel-sized bottle of hand sanitizer with you and use it regularly.

3. Avoid over-consumption of media

Limit your consumption of media and stories related to the outbreak. Scientists and public health officials are working overtime to better understand the virus and are looking at ways to limit its impact. Trust in their work and efforts. If you need updates, check out a government resource for the best, most accurate information, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

4. Use your past coping skills

Use what’s worked in the past to help manage anxious feelings. Maybe it’s engaging in self-talk, to undo the irrational thoughts coming into your head with rational, fact-based responses. Whatever works to help relieve your stress and reduce your anxiety.

Remember, outbreaks like this do occur from time to time throughout the world. While they can be very scary — you don’t have to go through this alone. Call the behavioral health number on the back of your insurance card to talk to a mental health professional or visit



New Directions maintains a Business Continuity Plan that includes procedures for epidemic/pandemic illness for all New Directions service center areas. New Directions is monitoring the state of the Coronavirus outbreak through the CDC and WHO and will begin to implement internal procedures if the outbreak reaches a point deemed an epidemic and/or absenteeism affects more than 25% of the employee workforce.  New Directions has the capability to re-distribute contact center calls within minutes using established protocols which designate backups for clinical care management activities. Current education and regular communication is available to members and partners through account management, social and web distribution channels. 

Filed under: Healthy Living