We understand that with everything that is going on in the world with COVID-19, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed right now. There is a lot to take in! Between constant updates on the status of the CoronaVirus, businesses and schools closing, and a certain level of the unknown, it can be very staggering to process all that is going on.
There are many emotions to decipher right now. You may be experiencing anxiety surrounding the virus, and concerns for yourself and others that are close to you. There may be feelings of depression with the state of things right now, especially with how we are constantly bombarded with news of the ongoing situation. You might even feel some resentment or anger towards the situation, or when you feel that proper precautions are not being taken into consideration around you.
These are completely normal emotions and feelings to have right now, but we also need to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves through this time.
We feel it is beneficial to first discuss some of the various terms that you will be hearing more about through the upcoming weeks.
Social Distancing is a phrase that you are bound to hear more and more about as people begin to change their behaviors to suit the situation at hand. Social Distancing does not mean cutting yourself off from the world, but instead to keep a healthy distance from those who are ill, areas with large groups of people, and cutting down trips or outings that are not necessary right now.
This can take shape in staying at least 6 feet away from anyone who has showing symptoms of illness, shopping in off peak hours for your groceries, and making a meal at home instead of going out to eat. This ensures that you are not exposing yourself to possible sickness by being in close proximity with others who may be ill.
Quarantine is another phrase that you will hear. The standard right now for anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 is 14 days, quarantined at home. This means staying inside of your house as you become healthy again, and only going out if you need to see your doctor, get medications, or need groceries. If you find yourself under quarantine, reach out to your friends and family that live nearby to see if they would be able to assist you with tasks like getting the mail, running for groceries or walking your dog.
We have also put together some useful information for how to best handle the current COVID-19 concerns, while still keeping an eye out on how you are doing, and not letting your mental health be ignored or set to the wayside during this time.
Stress and Anxiety
- Pay attention to your body and how you are reacting to situations. Take a quiet moment to really notice how you are doing. Do you feel like you are unconsciously tightening your jaw? Do you realize that you are tapping your foot constantly as if you had the jitters? Take this moment to self-reflect, notice how you are reacting to stress or anxiety, and make a conscious effort to ease those reactions. Take a deep breath, you are going to get through this.
- Limit your time watching the news. Although we understand how important it is to be informed about what is going on, too much exposure to current events and the news may increase your stress and anxiety.
- If you are worried about your job with the COVID-19 concerns, ask questions. Feel free to reach out to your manager, supervisor, or HR representative to ask if they have any updates on your workload. If you are unable to have time off due to financial constraints, ask if you would be able to be placed in another temporary position within the company to help out until your position is available again.
- If you are anxious or stressed about any symptoms you feel you are having, call your doctor. Do not hesitate to ask questions if you are nervous, because hearing back from your doctor will help in calming your nerves, especially if you are concerned you may have COVID-19.
If you are practicing Social Distancing, you may have times where you feel as if your depression is increasing from the lack of communication with others, boredom from the scenery, or even just having more time to think about everything that is going on.
- Call a friend or family member just to chat. Even a 5 minute phone call can do a world of good when you are in your home. If you are not comfortable talking on the phone, send a text, email or reach out on social media.
- Get some steps in. As we sit in our house, with the same scenery, things can feel stale, which can increase depression. Find some time to get up and walk around your house, take this time to do some cleaning up in preparation for Spring, or just stay mobile so you do not feel so stagnant.
- Get lost in a hobby. Use this time to read that book you have been putting off, watch some movies on your favorite streaming service, or start writing. Changing up your activities while Social Distancing can help keep depression at bay.
Some other general tips that can be useful for those that are Social Distancing or in Quarantine:
- If you are someone who struggles with alcohol or drug use and feel an urge to use in order to cope, contact your counselor, your doctor, your sponsor, or call the SAMHSA hotline toll-free any time at 1-800-662-4357.
- Find the positive in your day. It can be hard to be at home, but notice the little things that you enjoy. Maybe your pet jumped up on your lap and put a smile on your face. Perhaps you looked outside and noticed the first signs of Spring. If you feel up to it, start keeping a journal with your positive finds, so you can reflect on them when you need to.
- Fill the empty space. If you are in a house by yourself, or are spending a lot of time alone, have something in the background. Put on your favorite CD or have a local channel just running in the background.
- Finally, keep in touch with your counselor if you have one, do not be afraid to reach out if you feel you are struggling with your mental health during this time.
We understand that this is a new stress for a lot of you, and it can feel even more escalated when we are made to distance ourselves from others. Just make sure you are reaching out to connect with others if you need it, find the positives in each day, and most importantly, take care of yourself.