RICHMOND, Va. -- The uncertainty and lack of control because of the global COVID-19 pandemic is leading to feelings of helplessness and even depression.
But there are ways to buffer the impact to protect your emotional well being, according to psychologists.
Dr. Rob Fazio received his PhD from Virginia Commonwealth University and leads the organization, Hold the Door, which helps people cope during a crisis or traumatic event.
"Everyone is feeling overwhelmed and that they're not doing a good enough job," Fazio said.
Fazio, who lost his father on Sept. 11, said taking the time for yourself each day to learn, laugh and love can help.
"Learning a different skill," Fazio said. "Humor and making a laugh list -- and think about people who are really funny and you enjoy talking with -- and then love."
Fazio said self love and supporting those in your community are ways to show love.
In fact, studies show a correlation between happiness and helping others.
"Our minds and bodies are really connected, so if you're feeling down, one of the best things you can do is reach out and ask someone what they need," Fazio said. "Think about what you're good at and enjoy doing and teach that to someone else."
Fazio said it is harder to be fearful when you're joyful, so find ways to give yourself a break each day and focus on the joy in your life.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.Avoid non-essential travel.