Global pandemics are rare, unprecedented events. This is an incredibly stressful time for Americans. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, panic, and distress. While we all handle stress and anxiety differently, there are some vulnerable populations who are prone to experiencing an even stronger reaction to stress. This includes children and teens, healthcare professionals, and those with preexisting mental health conditions or substance use disorders.
The Effects of Stress During A Pandemic
Stress can be a useful tool in helping people face uncertain situations. But stress can become overwhelming and unhelpful if one obsessively engages in fear-based thoughts regarding the physical, mental, and financial health of themselves or their loved ones. For many people, COVID-19 easily triggers these obsessive thoughts, worries, and fears.
These obsessive thoughts and stress can lead to anxiety that affects their daily life. Some people may notice changes in their eating habits, have a difficult time sleeping or concentrating, experience worsening of their pre-existing medical problems, or they may increase substance use.
Caring For Your Mental Health
Finding ways to cope with anxiety and take care of your mental health are important during normal situations, but become vital during a pandemic. There many ways you can maintain your mental wellbeing on a daily basis:
- Slow and steady breathing will help to regulate your breath and heart rate.
- Stretching and meditation are all good habits to build.
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Find activities to focus your attention away from your thoughts, such as reading.
- Take breaks from the news and social media.
- Get daily exercise (if the weather is nice, go for a 15-minute walk).
- Keep to a consistent sleep schedule.
- Avoid alcohol or drug use.
All of these activities have a direct correlation to not only better mental but your physical health, as well.
Maintaining Your Physical Health
Not only is mental health important, but physical health is too. The best way to fight this pandemic is first and foremost to prevent yourself and others from getting sick. So continue to practice good hand hygiene, maintain social distance, avoid public places unless it is necessary, and refrain from touching your face.
Stay In Touch With Family And Friends
Remember that social distancing doesn’t mean we can’t still socialize. Make time to call or video chat with friends, family and other loved ones. You can even “do lunch” or sip coffee together through video chat!
Finally, be kind and gentle with yourself and others. This is a difficult and scary time, but we can get through it by taking care of ourselves and our loved ones. Taking care of our stress and helping others manage theirs makes our community stronger, which is vitally important during this time.
Finding Mental Health Support During COVID-19
Sometimes, coping with anxiety, depression, or substance abuse is difficult under normal circumstances. During a pandemic, these conditions can become even harder to manage. If you or a loved one are struggling during this time, there are options for help.
If you find you need additional support, the professionals at High Focus Centers are here to help. We are offering teletherapy services for all outpatient treatment programs during COVID-19. With confidential video conferencing technology, you can get treatment and therapy from the safety and comfort of home. Contact our team to get help today!