Maintaining Mental Health During the COVID-19 Outbreak

As the new coronavirus continues to spread, so do anxieties about COVID-19. If you are feeling stress and anxiety about events being canceled, social distancing, and daily life being disrupted, you are not alone. A pandemic event can trigger an overwhelming emotional response.

You might be hearing a lot about what you cannot do, but let’s talk about the things you CAN DO.

A behavioral health therapist, Amia Taylor, MSW, LCSW at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System shares the following tips for you and your family on how to manage coronavirus-related stress. We encourage you to share this with others. Check out this information below.

let's cope

Prepare, don’t panic.

News on the pandemic and speculation on social media can make anyone feel overwhelmed. Some news on the pandemic is true, but much of it is just partly correct, or misinformed opinions. Stay tuned because most of the information is rapidly changing.

The best sources that you can use are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO). These two organizations are the standard for up-to-date, scientific information about the illness and how to prevent it.

Both organizations have Facebook Pages and Websites. CHRISTUS Health also has a COVID-19 news section. Here are the sources for all:

CDC Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CDC/
WHO Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/WHO/

CDC Webpage for COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
WHO Webpage for COVID – 19: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

CHRISTUS Health Webpage for COVID-19: http://bit.ly/3d8KNHO

Practice Stress and Anxiety Management.

As provided above from our behavioral health expert, there are some proven things you can do to help provide stress relief. We wanted to expand on some important anxiety management tools that you might already know about but certainly deserve some extra attention right now.

  • Getting enough sleep. While sleep requirements vary slightly, most of us need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night to function at our best. Children and teens need even more. Naps are great for older adults especially for those who have trouble sleeping  at night.
  • Watch what you eat. Stay away from processed food. Whole foods like fruits, vegetables and lean meats are the best. Try not to stress-eat. We fully realize this is easy while at home with some down-time!
  • Proper hydration. Water. Water and more Water. 3.7 liters of fluids for men and about 2.7 liters of fluids a day for women. Think how your skin will glow.
  • Walk around your neighborhood Gyms are closed down as a precaution, but you can still find the time. There are also plenty of YouTube exercises for at-home workouts. You can also find us posting some good exercises in the coming days. If you haven’t already make sure to follow us on social media.
  • Meditation As a Catholic, faith-based health care system we certainly believe int he power of prayer. Holistic healing is an amazing thing to witness. We invite all our readers to sit quietly with your eyes closed. Try practicing short, deep breathing. There are also many mobile apps that offer guided meditation. Our spiritual team is also here to help.
  • Quiet Time. Even just a few minutes of quiet time can help gather your sanity. Take some precious minutes to do something that is yours. Try reading just one chapter of a book that’s been sitting on your bedside table. Run yourself a bath, or do something you haven’t done in a while like take a bubble bath or sketch something outside your window.

At CHRISTUS, we know self-care is important to the people we serve. It is important for you and important to teach your children.

Talk to your children.

No doubt, your children’s routines are little different now days. Pay attention to their feelings and make a point of not dismissing their worries.

  • Listen. You can do a lot by hearing them out. You can later find the best information to calm their worries.
  • Provide ACCURATE information. Your kids might already know a lot about the virus or think they do. As their parent you have the opportunity to give them accurate information to reduce their anxieties.
  • Prevention is best. This is a great time to go over the proper way to wash their hands! Remind them they need to use soap! 🙂

It is easier said than done, but limit that screen time and any media exposure. While keeping informed about world events is important, try not to overdue it.

We want all our families to enjoy health and happiness during this downtime. Remember to take deep breaths and if you feel overwhelmed you are not along. Just pull up this information anytime you need a reminder of ways to relax during this challenging time.

 

 

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