You’re not alone: Managing your mental health
If you are experiencing fear and anxiety because of the coronavirus pandemic, you are not alone. These are very normal reactions to a very abnormal situation. Thankfully, there are many ways to maintain your mental health, as well as resources to help support you, even in this stressful season.
However, you should watch your behavior for signs of distress, so that you can seek help if you need it. Common signs include:
- Feelings of numbness, disbelief, anxiety or fear
- Changes in appetite, energy, and activity levels
- Difficulty concentrating, headaches, body pains, stomach problems, skin rashes, and other physical reactions
- Difficulty sleeping, nightmares, or upsetting thoughts
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
To help manage or prevent these negative symptoms, here are some mental health management tips to try at home:
There are so many ways to socialize with our friends and loved ones, without even leaving your home. Calling and video chatting with people can help you better manage your stress and prevent you from feeling lonely and overwhelmed. Scheduling video chat dinner dates with other friends and family who are social distancing in their homes helps remind you that we are all in this together, and we are all just a phone call away.
While the coronavirus has likely thrown a wrench in your normal schedule, creating a new routine for you and your family can help give you a sense of normalcy and control. Even if you are working from home, or not able to work at this time, make sure you get dressed and ready anyway. Take time to exercise at home or outside while maintaining social distance. Plan and make nutritious meals. Implement a healthy structure to help create a new normal for you and your family.
Stay Informed, But Take Breaks
It is wise to be informed about the latest COVID-19 news. However, excessive news consumption may contribute to your feelings of stress and anxiety. Take breaks from reading or watching the news and put that time and energy towards activities that bring you joy instead.
Get Help If You Need It
If you are experiencing symptoms of distress for days or weeks, reach out to a clergy member, counselor, or health care provider. You can also contact SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-5990.