Managing the stress of Covid-19

Antoine Freeman, staff writer for the Durham VOICE and freshman at Voyager Academy.

By Antoine Freeman

            In early August a man in Pennsylvania was charged with shooting at an employee of a cigar shop.

This violence started when the cigar shop employee told the man, Adam Zaborowski, 35, to wear a mask. According to local news reports, Zaborowski allegedly fired shots at the store clerk and later, when confronted by police, fired at officers with an AK-47 assault rifle. After being shot by officers, leading to non-lethal injuries, he was arrested and taken into custody.

 It turns out Zaborowski was going through some very stressful times in his life. According to reports, he recently had lost his job because of Covid-19, had lost custody of his son and maybe even more things that we don’t know about.

Situations like this goes to show that Covid-19 can cause massive stress in the minds of the unlucky citizens who lost their jobs and loved ones, as well as everyone else dealing with the everyday stress of this pandemic.

I believe that if stress continues to build up in people, even here in Durham, it is possible for riots to occur, and that would just be complicating things even further than they already are.

The CDC has taken the stress people are getting from the Covid-19 pandemic into consideration and have put out a few tips for dealing with it. Some of the tips they provide are:

  • pause and notice how you feel
  • take a break from content (news, social media, etc.) that can be upsetting
  • take care of your body
  • stay connected
  • get help if you are overwhelmed.

One of the things that I do to avoid stress is hanging out with friends and family online, but if you can’t do that, then talking with your family is another option.

I talked to Lesle Williams, a clinical social worker at Atrium Health, who explained the “Three W’s” to me and why they’re important.

 Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Wait for six feet for social distancing.

“These three things are what is keeping you from spreading anything or other people from spreading anything to you, and it is what’s keeping the order in many of the stressful situations around the world,” she explained.

She also talked about how certain foods can increase stress, or it can be increased by eating too much.

“Eating more won’t help with stress during the pandemic,” Williams said. She also listed symptoms for people to be on the lookout for that are caused by stress, including a loss of concentration, anxiety and poor choices.

If any of these are showing up in your life you can go to the CDC “Stress and Coping” page listed above for more help. Also, for more local advice on how to keep your family safe during this time, visit the Durham-based nonprofit outpatient clinic, El Futuro’s website, to learn more.

            Like most people, I feel helpless at times during this pandemic. But if you make sure that you’re washing your hands, wearing a mask and distancing yourself from others, then it could help the community out of this situation a lot quicker. That would make me and many other people feel better.