Corona Virus and Mental Health; tools and coping skills
As more and more outbreaks of Corona Virus are reported across the country and abroad, we are likely to see an increase in mental health and substance use concerns. It is normal to feel a heightened sense of fear and uncertainty. You are not alone. Know that this is to be expected in light of a public health crisis.
Stress during a pandemic can include: fear and worry about your own health and health of your loved ones, difficulty sleeping, trouble concentrating, increased use of alcohol and drugs, worsening of chronic health problems and much more.
It’s very scary to learn that an illness such as COVID-19 is spreading across the globe. The beginning stages of a pandemic can be incredibly anxiety-provoking. Feelings of fear, sadness, anxiety and unpredictability are normal. Fortunately, being proactive about your mental health can help.
Taking care of yourself, your family and friends can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.
Tips for coping effectively
- Practice self care
- Recognizing what you can control
- Only reading news from reliable sources
- Taking care of your personal hygiene i.e. washing your hands
- Listening to CDC recommendations
- Seeking professional help from a mental health counselor
- Taking breaks from watching, reading or listening to the news
- Avoiding social media apps
- Taking care of your body
- Going outside
- Connect with other and share your concerns. This helps relieve the loneliness so many of us feel
- Stay informed. Make sure the news you listen to is accurate. Listen and put then put the phone down. There is no need to check the news multiple times a day
- Practicing mindfulness. Be present. Try to avoid obsessing about the future
- Meditate. If this is difficult, download apps. A five minute guided meditation can do wonders
- Eat healthy. Nourish your body
- Avoid excessive alcohol intake
- Spend quality time with your family. It is rare we have so much time!
- Read a novel
- Call friends you haven’t spoken to a while
- Try new activities like cooking or baking
- Take a bath
- Watch movies
- Facetime/Skype long distance friends and family
Remember that you are not alone. These tips are about self-care, but humans generally need community to be happy. It is natural to feel stress during such unpredictably. Everyone reacts and copes differently and your own feelings of dread and anxiety will pass and change over time. Taking care of your emotional and mental health during a crisis will help you think more clearly and react to urgent needs more appropriately.
If you or someone you love has a preexisting mental health condition, you should do your best to continue treatment and also be aware of new or worsening symptoms. Staying on top of your mental health includes continuing or beginning talk therapy. Many therapists are now making their practices available online. There is no reason anyone should have to go through this alone.Check out our extensive list of therapists that are available now.