Woman standing watching sunset

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may cause stress for many people as they deal with uncertainty and disruptions to their daily lives.

Stephanie Knight, MD, FAPA, chief of psychiatry at University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus, has a few tips to help cope with stress during this difficult time.

Take a Break

Take a break from conversation about coronavirus. It can be distressing to hear stories about the disease or read news coverage constantly. Try other activities to distract yourself such as these virtual travel resources. Set time limits and stick to them. Dr. Knight suggests making sure you have at least two conversations each day that aren't about coronavirus. This is especially important if you work in health care.

Focus on Your Health

Don't neglect your physical health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends trying to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs. Even if you are working from home, it is important to find time to get outside and stretch your legs. "Put your phone on speaker and walk around the room while you're on a call," says Dr. Knight.

Stay Connected

Practicing social distancing doesn't mean that you need to isolate yourself. Reach out to others. Call up a friend or family member and use them as a sounding board as you process your thoughts and feelings. There are many ways that you can stay connected.

Practice Mindfulness

Certain mindfulness activities in which you engage in the present moment can help you reduce anxiety or any emotionally overwhelmed state of being.

Remember that taking care of your mental health is part of staying healthy, and staying healthy is one of the most important things you can do during the coronavirus pandemic.