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Families: Continue to stay safe and healthy. Many businesses are reopening, but we still need to use wisdom as we navigate outside of our homes. Keep the vulnerable population inside to avoid them being exposed to the virus. Wear masks, gloves, use sanitizer. Be wise.
As we manage the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, coping with mental health and stress management issues stay at the forefront. The American Counseling Association reported an increase in mental health issues as a result of stress, worry, and anxiety regarding the impact and ever-changing circumstances regarding the virus.
The Unreachable Finish Line
The continual evolution of information regarding COVID-19 can feel like a never-ending race. The inability to feel reassured by experts challenges one’s confidence to protect their family, which can create fear, anxiety, and depression, and can be overwhelming to both adults and children. These feelings can manifest in a variety of ways that include:
- Fear and worry about your own health and that of your loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Worsening of mental health conditions
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
- Unusual shopping patterns
Everyone Responds Differently
How one responds to this crisis can depend on background, age, profession, family, support, or the community in which you live. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who may be vulnerable include:
- Seniors and people with chronic diseases
- Children and teens
- People on the front line (doctors, other health care providers, and first responders)
- People who have mental health and substance abuse issues
Self-Care and Stress Management
Self-care is very important during these challenging times. Not taking care of one’s self can manifest itself physically, economically, and mentally, compounding current issues and creating new ones. The constant barrage of information, being sequestered from others, and experiencing feelings of helplessness can create stress that will have lasting effects if not managed.
Ways to Cope with Stress
- Limit exposure to news. This includes watching, reading, and listening to media sources, including social media.
- Take care of your body
- Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and feelings.
We also recognize that despite shelter-in-place and social distancing guidance from the CDC and medical experts to mitigate the virus, many states have decided to reopen non-essential services starting this week. This includes gyms, hair salons, nail salons, barbershops, bowling alleys, and churches to hold in-person service. These decisions have been made even though many of these states are experiencing a rise in COVID-19 cases. Leading immunologist, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has warned Americans about trying too quickly to return to normal, stating, “it’s going to backfire, that’s the problem.”
If It Becomes Too Much
Need help? Know someone who does?
If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others:
- Call 911
- Visit the Disaster Distress Helpline, call 1-800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746
- Visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline or call 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-32
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) if you have thoughts of suicide or go to speakingofsuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources. Have a loved one who is severely depressed? Learn what you can do to help.
Let Us Know How You Are Doing
We have heard from many of you about your experiences as essential workers. Your courage is admirable. We know there are many more of you on the front lines in several different capacities that continue to work. We still want to hear from you. Please let us know how you are doing.
Share Vital Information With Us
If you have vital information to share regarding COVID-19 that will benefit our communities and those we serve, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.