Along with the unprecedented public health crisis that is the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is experiencing a growing mental health crisis. Even among the most well-adjusted of us, it would be hard to find a person whose emotional/mental health hasn’t been impacted in some way by the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whether a person is worried about contracting the virus, feeling sympathy for those who have or had it, lonely while quarantined, frustrated with others in their household during quarantine, fed-up with restrictions/quarantine, stressed about online learning as a student or parent, dealing with the loss of a business / a job or reduced wages, struggling with the process of trying to obtain unemployment, worried about the economy, feeling agitated over how local, state or the federal government is responding to the pandemic or just find the whole situation unsettling, there are simply so many stressors and changes associated with this pandemic that it would be unusual not to be negatively affected by it to some degree.
If during this time, you are feeling worried, scared, sad, angry, confused, lonely, or anxious, first know that it is both normal and completely understandable. Also, know that you are not alone in how you’re feeling. In a recent poll taken by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 56% of people polled reported that the worry or stress related to COVID-19 resulted in at least one negative mental health effect/event. Keep in mind that the poll was asking about a negative event arising out of the stress and worry associated with the pandemic, not what percentage felt stress or worry from it, which would logically be much higher. Just because these feelings are normal and wide-spread does not mean they have to be overwhelming.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide the following recommendations to help improve mental health during this time:
- take television and social media breaks to avoid constant repetition of negative messages;
- take care of your body (take deep breaths, stretch or meditate, try to eat healthily, get regular exercise, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol/drugs;
- make time to relax either resting or with activities you enjoy;
- connect with others you trust to talk about your concerns and as a distraction from the negativity.
The most important tip of all is to get help when you need it, whether it’s contacting a spiritual leader, reaching out to your primary care provider, or contacting a mental health professional. Know that “this too shall pass” but until it does, self-care is essential.
The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the providing of medical advice nor is it intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified medical professional with any physical or mental health questions or concerns you may have.