The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted information for healthcare personnel on coping with stress and building resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Experiencing or witnessing life-threatening or traumatic events impacts everyone differently,” the CDC stated. “In some circumstances, the distress can be managed successfully to reduce associated negative health and behavioral outcomes. In other cases, some people may experience clinically significant distress or impairment, such as acute stress disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or secondary traumatic stress (also known as vicarious traumatization). Compassion fatigue and burnout also may result from chronic workplace stress and exposure to traumatic events during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Common stress symptoms include:

  • anger, denial, irritation;
  • feeling uncertain, nervous, or anxious;
  • feeling helpless or powerless;
  • feeling unmotivated;
  • feeling tired, overwhelmed, or burned out;
  • feeling sad or depressed;
  • experiencing sleep problems;
  • inability to concentrate.

The CDC gave these tips for coping with stress:

  • Communicate with your co-workers, supervisors, and employees about how the pandemic is affecting your work.
  • Remember that everyone is experiencing the same unusual situation with limited resources.
  • Identify and accept things you cannot control.
  • Remember that you perform a crucial role in fighting the pandemic, and you are doing the best you can with the resources available.
  • Keep a consistent daily routine to increase your sense of control.
  • Try to make time for healthy meals and adequate sleep. Take rest breaks and check in with supportive colleagues, co-workers, friends, and family. Exercise and spend time outdoors when you can.

Editor’s Note: If you are concerned that you or someone in your household may harm themselves or someone else, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 1(800) 273-8255.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthcare personnel and first responders: How to cope with stress and build resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, May 5, 2020.