Let’s face it, life is hard. It can be fun and beautiful and engaging and lively. But it can also be hard and depressing and difficult and stressful. The outbreak of Covid-19 certainly doesn’t help the latter. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause very strong emotions in adults and children. Learning how to cope during this time will make you, the people you care about and your community stronger.
First, you should be able to identify the symptoms—not only in yourself but in others:
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Worsening of mental health conditions
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
Everyone reacts differently to stress. How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the unique circumstances in your life and the community you live in. Some who might have a stronger response than others include:
- Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19
- Children and teens
- People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors, other health care providers, and first responders
- People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use
So, what are some ways to cope and help others as well?
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting
- Take care of your body
- Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals
- Exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep
- Avoid alcohol and drugs
- Make time to unwind–try to do some other activities you enjoy
- Connect with others–talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling
In the end, there is also additional help if you, or someone you love, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others.
If the situation is an emergency, do not be afraid to dial 911 and they will assist with the appropriate public services. For other help or information, you can visit the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or you can also text Talk With Us at 66746. Additionally, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available at 1-800-799-7233.
These are different times. You should be easy on yourself and your family. None of us have experienced such a time as this and we need to pull together and work together to maintain a calm, stress-free environment.