Supporting Yourself

Tips for keeping yourself physically and mentally healthy.

Care For Your Body

Eat well-balanced meals. This means lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein. Try to limit the amount of sugar and salt.

  • Stay hydrated. Drink water with every meal, in between each meal, and when you work out.
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Walking counts. Many gyms and fitness companies are offering free online classes with no equipment necessary.
  • Make sure to sleep. Try to get seven to nine hours if possible.
  • Don’t drink too much caffeine. It can lead to anxiety, insomnia, nausea, and headaches.
  • You might need to see your doctor for a reason other than COVID‑19. Call, video chat, or email your provider first.

Look After Your Mental Health

Practice mindfulness, which can help you stay calm. Various meditation apps are offering free services and specific COVID‑19 programming.

  • It’s important to unplug. Take short timeouts during the day to recharge. Schedule longer breaks for fun or relaxing activities.
  • Stimulate your brain. Read a book, do a puzzle, or paint a picture. Or use this time to start something you’ve always wanted to do.
  • Exercise, stretch, or take walks outside while practicing physical distancing. Movement can raise your level of endorphins, the chemicals that promote a positive mindset.
  • Reach out to your family, friends, and others in your community with a text, phone call, or video chat.
  • Start a gratitude journal. Take time to acknowledge the little things that make you happy.
  • Take breaks from the news and social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Seek help if things get overwhelming, such as if you’re drinking more than usual or using drugs, excessively worrying, or compulsively checking your temperature or washing your hands.
  • Helplines and Crisis Resources

Shop Wisely

Limit your trips to the grocery store or pharmacy as much as possible. When you go, try to only buy what you need to be sure there’s enough for everyone else.

  • People who are at higher risk of severe illness, such as those aged 65 or older or individuals with an underlying medical condition, should try to get food and medications delivered. If delivery is not possible, ask a lower risk family member or friend to run errands for you. Or check local stores to see if they have special shopping hours for high risk customers.
  • Wear a cloth mask. Wipe down your cart or basket before using it. Don’t touch your face while shopping.
  • You want to be well prepared, but leave enough for others. A good rule of thumb is to get two weeks worth of groceries and supplies. Buy long-lasting foods, like dry, canned, or frozen foods. You can still purchase fresh produce, meat, and dairy. Just eat those items first or freeze them so they don’t spoil.
  • Gather essential over-the-counter supplies like tissues, a fever reducer, and cough medicine. Buy a two-week supply of household items like soap, toiletries, and laundry detergent.
  • Practice physical distancing rules while shopping or getting deliveries.

Strategies for Work

If you’re able to work from home, maintain a schedule and stick to it.

  • Avoid working in bed or on the couch. If possible, create a separate workspace.
  • Take walks (while maintaining a physical distance) to make up for the steps you usually take to get to and from work.
  • If you have children at home, communicate your child-care needs to your supervisor.
  • If you aren’t working from home, follow the proper steps for hand-washing, cleaning and disinfecting, and symptom-monitoring.
  • If you live with someone who goes into work, ensure they properly wash their hands as soon as they get home. Disinfect anything they touched before they washed their hands.
  • If you’re out of work because of coronavirus, know your options for unemployment and explore local community programs. Call your mortgage, student loan, utility, and credit card providers and let them know your situation.
  • Unemployment Help

Create a Household Emergency Plan

Have two weeks’ worth of food in case a household member needs to isolate from others.

  • Create an emergency contact list. This should include email addresses and phone numbers for family, friends, neighbors, carpool drivers, health care providers, teachers, employers, and the local public health department.
  • If possible, those who are sick should have their own bedroom and bathroom. Choose the rooms in advance and prepare them with over-the-counter medications and extra household supplies.
  • Join your neighborhood’s social media page to get access to neighbors, information, and resources.
  • Know where your estate planning documents are and ensure they are up to date. This includes such paperwork as living wills, healthcare proxies, and power of attorney forms. While this may feel stressful, not having these documents in order can create added confusion and stress for you and your loved ones when this information is needed most.
  • If you live alone, stay in frequent contact with friends and family.
  • If you are worried about losing your job, research options for unemployment and other forms of assistance in advance.

What To Do If You Get COVID‑19

Stay home and monitor your symptoms. If they get worse, contact your doctor immediately. Leave your house only to receive medical care.

  • Do your best to stay away from your other household members, including pets.
  • If possible, designate a room for your use only. Ideally use your own bathroom, too.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Discard the tissue and immediately wash your hands.
  • Avoid sharing personal items such as dishes, towels, and bedding with other people in your house.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces, particularly door knobs, faucet handles, and counter tops.
  • Wash laundry frequently.
  • Have a household member or friend run errands for you like picking up groceries or prescriptions.
  • Wear a cloth mask over your face and nose if you have to be around other people, including those in your home. If you don’t have a mask, improvise. Create a mask from a tightly-woven cotton garment, like sheets or a bandana; T-shirt fabric will work in a pinch. Don’t use a cloth mask on children under the age of 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or on someone who can’t voluntarily take the mask off, but their caregivers should wear one.
  • If you have questions about your best next steps, complete our Screening Tool.
  • Begin Screening