Stress, anxiety and depression associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy and regulations are something that we are all feeling. The challenges we are facing right now can be overwhelming to almost anyone. It's okay to not be okay from time to time.

If you have been suffering from insomnia, nightmares, headache or fatigue, you may be experiencing symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression. If you are regularly feeling stressed out, overwhelmed and unable to cope, it's important to understand what you're feeling and to know that it is okay to ask for help.


Stress, anxiety and depression can manifest in different ways for different people. There are a variety of different symptoms and, if you're experiencing some of the symptoms listed below, it might be an indicator that you are suffering from stress, anxiety or depression. 

 Physical Symptoms: 
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain & tension
  • Chest pain
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Excessive sweating
  • Upset stomach or nausea
  • Lower appetite
  • Lower energy or fatigue

Psychological & Emotional Symptoms

  • Virus-related worries and insecurity
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed by events
  • Feelings of powerlessness
  • Self-verbalisation that does not always reflect reality
  • Negative vision of things, situations or daily events
  • Feelings of discouragement, insecurity, sadness, anger, etc.

Behavioural Symptoms

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty in making decisions
  • Irritability, moodiness or aggression
  • Crying
  • Withdrawal, insularity
  • Increased use of alcohol, drugs and/or medication
  • Stress is a normal physiological response to an abnormal situation. We all experience stress as part of our daily lives. It enables us to adapt to new experiences like a birth, marriage, death, loss of employment, etc. Depending on the factors involved, stress will come and go on its own. For example, if you feel stressed when you are at work but then feel less stress at home in the evening, your stress is likely work-related. 
  • It's helpful to define anxiety in relation to fear. Fear and anxiety produce similar stress responses to certain dangers but there are important differences between the two.

    Fear is a response to a well-defined and very real threat. It can be good to be afraid of some things because that fear can help to keep you safe. Example: I am afraid of spiders because of their venomous bites. 

    Contrary to fear, which is a response to a well-defined and very real threat, anxiety is a response to a vague or unknown threat. It's an unpleasant, vague sense of apprehension. 

    The sensations caused by anxiety are related to the possibility that something you fear could happen. This anxiety is not the result of a known or specific threat. Rather it comes from your mind’s interpretation of the possible dangers that could immediately arise.

    Everyone experiences anxiety at their own individual degree and intensity.

  • Depression is defined as a passing state of lassitude, discouragement and sadness. Depression can appear in a variety of physical and psychological ways. Its intensity varies from one person to the next.


  • Financial stress spills over into all aspects of your life. Arguments with your spouse or partner, frustrations at work, and anxiety about the future can all have a root cause in financial stress. Being aware of how financial stress is affecting your mental and physical wellbeing, and your relationships can help you be mindful of when you're taking your stress out on others. Having open, clear communication with your partner about your finances can alleviate some of that stress.

    Please visit the Getting Assistance page for more information on getting financial assistance.  

Looking back over the last two weeks, how have you been feeling? If you're not sure if you've been feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, this Mood Self-Assessment from the UK's National Health Service (NHS) can help you to better identify and define the mixed feelings you may be experiencing.


Experiencing stress, anxiety or depression during the current pandemic situation is normal. This is a new situation and you are learning how to adjust and adapt. You may be worried about what the 'new normal' is going to look like when more businesses and institutions reopen. You may be anxious about how you're going to make ends meet. There are a lot of unknowns right now and a lot of questions that can't be answered. But here's what you CAN do:

  • Look for the Upside
  • Take Care of Yourself
  • Take Care of Others
  • Get Help
  • Get the Latest Updates

Keeping up-to-date on the latest changes to policy can help you feel more in control of your situation and can help you make a reintegration plan for you and your family. 

Silver linings won't solve your problems but it can be as easy as finding them to change how you feel about your situation. It can be as simple as changing how you talk about curfew to be "safe at home" instead of "stuck at home" when you're experiencing cabin fever, or how our government cares about your life and your health more than the economy. 

Looking for the everyday blessings of the pandemic curfews can help you change your frame of mind to be more positive and optimistic which will reduce the stress, anxiety and depression that you may be feeling.

  • Read about people being Caymankind
  • Listen to the calls of Cayman parrots that we've missed for so long
  • Listen to and embrace the power of music
  • Read about the hammerhead sharks seen near Little Cayman shores
  • View pictures of drastically improving air quality in countries like China and India 
  • Think of how less traffic has saved time and has had a positive impact on our carbon footprint
  • Reflect on the things that are different now and what you'd like to stay this way as we move forward


Almost everyone has had their 'regular routine' disrupted by the pandemic. Trips are cancelled, businesses are closed, schools are out and many people are either trying to work from home or are at home not working. It will take time to adjust and that's okay. 

Feeling Like You Became a Full-Time Teacher Overnight?

If you are at home with children you may be feeling overwhelmed trying to balance your children's education and full-time caregiving, on top of your usual responsibilities. Don't be too hard on yourself if you're not able to be on top of these new roles every day. Teachers have trained for years to be able to deliver effective childhood education.

If you are struggling with homeschooling, talk to your child's teacher to see how you can best support your child on a moderated schedule to balance the stress levels of your entire family.

Taking good care of yourself in these simple ways will improve your overall wellbeing. When you take care of yourself you're better equipped to help others and the entire community will benefit from these small steps.  

Sundowners Are Just Downers (Alcohol is a Depressant) 

After a long day you may be looking to familiar habits or seeking out new ways to cope with your feelings and situations. While alcohol or other drug (substance) use may seem like familiar and relaxing ways to cope, they are most likely making things worse.

Alcohol is a depressant and the effect that alcohol has on your body and your behaviour can negatively impact many areas of your life including your health, relationships and overall wellbeing. If you find it challenging to abstain from alcohol or drug use, you may be developing a dependency on it and should talk to your doctor about ways to quit. You can also attend Cayman AA meetings online or call the Mental Health Helpline or the Cayman Counselling Centre for help with managing and advice.

We're so conditioned to say "I'm fine" when someone asks how we're doing that it can really catch you by surprise when someone admits that they're "not okay". 

What to do if someone tells you they're 'not okay'

  1. Stop and listen, with interest and compassion. Don't underestimate the power of simply listening to someone else when they're going through a rough time. 

  2. Don't try to fix the problem right now. Sometimes, giving the person a chance to talk openly about their struggles is more important and meaningful than practical help or suggestions to fix the problems.

  3. Encourage them to seek help from you. Asking "how can I help?" or "is there something I can do for you right now?" can show how much you support them and gives them the opportunity to ask for help when they're ready for it. 

  4. Encourage them to seek professional help. If someone has confided in you that they are struggling and are concerned that they can't cope, encourage them to seek professional help. Let them know that it's okay not to be okay and that there are resources available to help them. Try to be supportive and not judgemental.  

  5. Follow up. We all struggle from time to time. Check in and follow up to show you care and let them know you're around for a chat at any time. Knowing that someone is there for you can itself be a great deal of emotional support. 

If you’re seriously concerned about someone’s immediate safety, or if someone is putting others in immediate danger, call 911 for assistance. 

Some of the people who are struggling the most might be the people you least expect. If you haven't heard from a friend, family member or colleague in some time, send them a text or give them a call just to check in on how they're doing. Your simple gesture can go a long way. 

Be mindful of friends, families, or loved ones who who are also coping with grief or bereavement during this time. Those experiencing bereavement can also get in touch with their local pastor or the Cayman Counselling Centre at 1 (345)-949-8789.


Supporting Children & Young People

Children follow your lead and live by your example. Taking care of yourself by eating well, exercising and following a routine will encourage them to do the same. Talking to them about the changes happening in their lives and their feelings about them can also help them deal with their own concerns in a healthy way. 

Even if you're struggling to cope with the challenges of having your children home 24/7, try not to vent those frustrations where they can hear you. They may not be able to differentiate your frustrations with the situation in general from your disappointment with them as individuals. 



Not all kids have loving, safe homes to shelter in. If you want to help kids in your community who could use another role model or a person to talk to when they're lonely, consider reaching out to organisations like Big Brothers Big Sisters, YMCA, Family Resource Centre, and offer your time or your money to make a difference for a young Caymanian. 




Your children have had a big change to their daily routines. Going to school, playing with friends, participating in clubs and activities, and having their nannies and helpers around for additional support have all been removed from their lives. Adjusting to life without the different activities and social interactions can be difficult. This is not a 'normal' time for them and you may notice that they have some behaviour changes that aren't 'normal' either. 

In times of stress and change, your children may have strong reactions such as:

  • feeling sad
  • being irritable
  • withdrawing
  • getting confused easily
  • having sleep disorders
  • showing new or increased fears
  • showing anger more frequently
  • physical reactions, like a mild headache that won't go away
  • behavioural regressions

Dealing with these in a safe and supportive way can be an extra challenge for caregivers who are feeling tired and stressed themselves. The best way you can set a good example for and take care of your children is to take care of yourself.

Your Children Are Paying Attention

Children follow your lead and live by your example. Taking care of yourself by eating well, exercising and following a routine will encourage them to do the same. Talking to them about the changes happening in their lives and their feelings about them can also help them deal with their own concerns in a healthy way. 

Even if you're struggling to cope with the challenges of having your children home 24/7, try not to vent those frustrations where they can hear you. They may not be able to differentiate your frustrations with the situation in general from your disappointment with them as individuals. 

Most children thrive when they know what to expect and when to expect it. Making a routine and sticking to it can help to reduce the stress that children could be experiencing. Support them in their remote learning by setting certain 'study times' and keep control of screen time by having a dedicated time for TV or table games and videos.

The Kids Helpline is a free to call number for anyone across all 3 Islands under the age of 18. This is a private, non-judgemental service which will safeguard and protect the rights of children and young people. They can call for any reason such as: bullying, relationships, family problems, suicidal thoughts, loneliness or anything else that is concerning them. Parents who are concerned about their children are also welcome to call. 

Kids Helpline: 649-5437 (KIDS) Monday thru Friday from 10am-6pm 

Your teenager might have lived in their room and spent a lot of time on social media prior to the pandemic but that doesn't mean that they're not affected. Friends and social circles are critical in the life of a teenager and for those who are missing out on graduations, homecomings, and summer internships, they may feel like their entire life plans are being pulled out from underneath them. 

Teenagers may also not fully understand the importance of social distancing or the risks that they pose to others if they contract or spread COVID-19. They may think that they're untouchable and won't contract COVID, or that they're invincible and brush off the potential seriousness, and may not think about the wider reach of their potential to spread COVID-19 to others who may be more vulnerable than they are. 

Tips to help teenagers cope: 

  1. Maintain a regular routine with consistent sleep, activity and study patterns. 
  2. Stay connected with others and incorporate them in your routines and family calls. 
  3. Connect with humour and jokes. 
  4. Create a safe environment for them to talk about their feelings and worries. 
  5. Eat regular meals and regular meal times, together if possible, and try to limit all-day grazing and snacking. 
  6. Limit coffee and energy drinks. 
  7. Get out and exercise as a family with a walk on the beach, bike ride or other other activity that keeps you moving and gets you out of the house. 
  8. Limit screen time and social media. This is a harder one to enforce, but it's important to 'take a break' from being connected 24/7. 
  9. Give them time and give them space. There are times when they really will just need to be alone. 

Just like adults, children who are bored or unengaged will have more time to worry or ruminate. Keeping them engaged in healthy activities helps them feel safe and secure with you and can be an educational experience. 

"My Hero is You" is a story developed for and by children around the world and offers a way for children and parents to think together about the questions the pandemic raises.

Supporting Our Elders  

Older people are incredibly vulnerable right now and many are struggling with the mental toll of increased isolation. Supporting elderly personas who may be feeling depressed due to isolation is very important. Checking in regularly and encouraging them to keep active and keep a routine can help to improve their mental and physical health. Calling your older family and neighbours regularly can help them feel more connected and less alone.



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Resources, Support & Helplines

There are numerous support lines and resources available to assist you. Whether your concerns are financial, health related, due to your domestic situation or if you just can't shake that general feeling of uneasiness that follows you around, there's someone to talk to. View more helplines and resources here.