Are you feeling isolated? Stuck? Lonely? Out of sorts? You are not alone. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention updated a report on mental health and COVID-19 on July 1, 2020.
This report shows that “Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety. However, these actions are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Coping with stress in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger. (Coronavirus Disease 2019: Coping with Stress)
So how do we cope?
- First and foremost, know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and where to get help if you feel them. Have a physician on standby via telehealth; know your local resources and be prepared.
- Wear personal protective equipment when you go out so that you and your loved ones are safe.
- Stick to routines. Life has been turned upside down. Many of us now work from home. School is online. Children are home. Routines are more important now than ever.
- Exercise at least three to four times a week.
- Eat regularly and keep your blood sugar steady. No long fasting times so that your body is starved and then stuffed.
- Take care of your body:
- Take deep breaths, stretch, and meditate daily.
- Check out our Meditation Mondays on YouTube.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Drink water.
- Avoid excessive alcohol and drug use.
- Unwind each day – do something fun! A hobby such as gardening, reading, wine tasting, biking, anything that is not work…but is PLAY.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust and share your concerns.
- Connect with like-minded people through social media, online, by phone, or by mail.
- Find a “pen pal” at a prison or a nursing home – your life and theirs will be richly blessed by this simple act.
Remember that people of all ages feel the stress and loneliness of COVID-19. Be creative and curious as you explore ways to cope. You may surprise yourself with new and creative ways to find peace in the midst of this pandemic.
– Renee Ahern, PhD, MS, MDiv, LPCC-S