We are all grappling with different stressors and feelings around the Covid-19 pandemic. For some of us there is the anxiety about ourselves or people we love getting sick. For others the worry about money or job loss can be overwhelming. And for still others there is sadness and loneliness due to the isolation around social distancing. There is so much uncertainty about this virus, how and when we can find treatments and vaccine, and the consequences to the economy. The resulting helplessness and unpredictability can be overwhelming. Still more of us are coping with the loss of family or friends to the virus or coping with being sick ourselves.
This all can lead to anxiety, panic attacks, changes in sleep or eating patterns, difficulty concentrating, worsening of mental health symptoms or chronic health conditions, and increased use of alcohol or other drugs It is really important to find ways to cope with these stressors in a healthy way.
Take care of your emotional health. Stay connected to family and friends; if you can’t safely connect face to face, use zoom or other online venues where possible.
Be gentle with yourself about how you are doing. This is a really difficult time and if you are having trouble coping that is completely understandable. Have reasonable expectations for yourself in how you are coping.
Eat well and exercise. Have a good sleep routine. Avoid alcohol and drugs.
Find ways to be involved in activities you enjoy, take breaks and find ways to relax.
Avoid too much exposure to the news.
Stay informed about where to get treatment if you are sick and get reliable information about how to keep yourself and family safe.
Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row. Free and confidential resources can also help you or a loved one connect with a skilled, trained counselor in your area.
Joleen Hartland MS, LCPC