From mandated government stay at home orders to gut wrenching stories on the news, the coronavirus has caused more than just physical harm to our world. Yes, the spreading of this virus has caused deadly and horrible stories but it has also caused many feelings of anxiety, depression, loneliness, and other feelings that can be harmful to our mental health. In previous blogs, we’ve gone over the coronavirus and what it is, but now we want to help shed light on how you can protect your mental health during this pandemic. Keep reading to learn more!
Starting off, we want to acknowledge that this outbreak can cause feelings of turmoil — no matter how old you are or what your current situation is — regarding the virus. From schools and businesses being shut down to empty grocery store aisles, this can make you feel stressed not only about yourself, but also about the people around you and those whom you love. It’s also important to acknowledge that everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you react depends on a multitude of factors such as your environment, your upbringing, the people you surround yourself with and the community you are in. All of us are currently being affected by the virus, some more than others, but we’re all going through this and the important thing to note is that we will get through it together!
Due to the changes going on, there are certain demographics of people who may be more susceptible than others. Older adults with chronic illnesses are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 which could give them uneasy feelings. Children and teens who have had their daily lives disrupted by school cancellations will also show signs of stress. Working adults in various essential job fields like healthcare workers, first responders, and other areas of business are probably not going to be themselves due to the high amount of stress they are facing every single day. People who have had ongoing mental health issues may be feeling even more isolated than normal, causing extreme spikes of anxiety and depression. Wherever you fall on this spectrum, we want you to know that it is completely normal to be feeling this way during the pandemic that we’re facing. How you cope with these feelings is what will make the biggest difference.
According to the CDC, stress during any infectious disease outbreak can include any of the following:
- Fear and worry about your own health/the health of your loved ones.
- Changes in sleeping or eating patterns.
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
- Worsening of chronic health problems.
- Increased substance use (alcohol, tobacco, other drugs).
Let’s learn more about how you can help cope with these feelings.
WHAT CAN I DO TO SUPPORT MYSELF?
TAKE BREAKS FROM SOCIAL MEDIA
While it’s important to keep yourself updated and educated about what is going on around you, hearing constant news stories about the stress of the situation can take a toll on your mental well-being. Instead of leaving the TV on with the news, listen to it once and then turn it off. The same thing goes for your social media outlets. Whether you’re reading, viewing, or hearing these stores, it can cause you more anxiety, especially if you’re already stressed. Stay up to date, but don’t flood yourself with information. Turn it off and take a break from the stores. If you need to unfollow or mute specific people you follow, do it. There is no shame in prioritizing your own needs from time to time, especially when it comes to your mental well-being.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY
Staying inside the house all day can cause us to live sedentary lives, especially if you live in an apartment, condo, or more compact living area. Remember to get up and move every so often, even if it’s just a walk around the house, to the mailbox, or even a quick step outside, get your body moving. Exercise can also help alleviate feelings of stress. When we exercise our brain produces endorphins which help elevate our mood. Eating healthy and well balanced meals can also help give your body the proper nutrients that it needs, helping you feel better. Avoid alcohol and other drugs, keep your body and mind free of any outside substances that may alter your state of mind.
CONNECT WITH OTHERS
Human connection is one of the most important aspects that we need to function. While some people may consider themselves more introverted and like their own space, no matter how extroverted or introverted you are, you need connection. This connection can be difficult to come by at the current moment. While we understand that it’s not ideal, keep that connection going by reaching out to friends and family. A quick phone call or video chat can go a long way for both parties. It’s also important that you reach out and accept help if you need it. Due to various closures, this virus outbreak has caused many people financial stress. If you need help there are so many organizations, churches, and even neighbors and friends that are willing to help. If you’re struggling with your mental health, reach out to a provider. Many healthcare offices and therapists are doing tele-visits and video sessions so that you’re still getting the treatment and care you need, while still adhering to the social distancing and lock down policies.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
It can be easy to get caught up in the midst of the virus and all the media coverage. Take a step back and try to acknowledge any feelings that you may notice. Are these feelings temporary and unlike you? Or are they feelings that you typically experience but heightened? Whatever they are, take the time to accept it. Once you accept these feelings, you’ll be able to understand how you can or need to be helped. This is an unknown time, which can be very scary for all of us. There is only so much you can do as a regular person, take it one day at a time. Do what you can do to protect yourself. Accepting these feelings can help relieve you and help you understand what needs to be done.
This can be a very scary time but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. AFM Healthcare wants to remind you to prioritize and pay attention to your mental health. Remember to keep yourself healthy and safe right now, both mentally and physically. At AFM Healthcare, we are closely following the CDC’s recommendations that are pertaining to the coronavirus and will be posting updates about our Oviedo and Winter Park locations throughout all of our accounts. This includes our social media, too.
If you are or think you’re having symptoms of coronavirus, please call our office before coming in. We can set up televisit appointments. We do urge you, if you’re feeling sick with any of the symptoms, to avoid going to public offices like emergency rooms or urgent care clinics. For more information about what we’re doing or questions about what to do if you’re feeling symptoms, connect with us today! We’re here for you.