The affects of coronavirus aren’t just physical on our bodies, it is taking a mental and emotional toll on our lives and the lives of those around us. There is a need for connection now more than ever and it seems like we are even further away from each other. Many of our members and community residents are posting about the mental health of our area and how we can better cope with the struggles around us. Of course, Stephenson County is not alone. We sought out resources and tips to help better understand our coronavirus emotions.
An article by Healthline outlined a number of tips for those who already struggle with anxiety or those who are feeling it for the first time. “Focusing on preparedness, staying calm, reaching out to check on the well-being of others, and self-care will help you through this challenging moment in history. Remind yourself that COVID-19 is a serious but temporary illness, and that life will return to normal in time,” Deborah Serani, PsyD, psychologist and author of “Sometimes When I’m Sad,” told Healthline.
Additionally the article reminds us it is OK to be angry, but then it is also time to set new norms. “Don’t think of it as doomsday. Look at it as finding a new normal. Ask yourself, ‘How do I want to live my life right now with these constraints?’ And limit talking to family if they are getting worked up. Say, ‘We’ll talk about it for 15 minutes and then [move on],’” she said.
The Centers for Disease control also offers great resources for stress and coping. Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger. Things you can do to support yourself
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Parents need to be aware that whatever they are feeling is being projected to the children and teens in their lives who may also be dealing with their own stress. Our younger generation is dealing with immense change in their lives doing schoolwork at home, being away from friends, and having a large detour in their daily routine. The National Association of School Psychologists offers a great resource for helping and explaining our current coronavirus situation to the appropriate age groups.
Also, remember you are not alone in your feelings. To some extent, the entire world is feeling some form of anxiety and uncertainty. It is therapeutic to hear how other people are trying to cope. Social psychologist Brene’ Brown has started a new podcast called “Unlocking Us” that is great to listen to for tips on curbing our anxiety and feeling more at ease with what is going on around us.
For some of us, our nerves can settle if we put our bodies to work. Your Core Being has offered meditative walks to help breathe and relax during these times of uncertainty. Continue to check their Facebook page for additional dates and times. Pat Leitzen Fye, owner and yoga instructor at Your Core Being, also recommends taking up a yoga practice that allows you to breathe and move as your body allows. Yoga can be easily done at home without much equipment. Continue to watch Your Core Being for yoga sessions you can do from home!
Please take time for yourself to incorporate even one of the tips to help us move from crisis into compassion. Be well and feel well!