We certainly live in stressful, uncertain times right now. Events, schools, jobs, services and life’s milestones, are all coming to a standstill.
As someone who has worked in mental health for 23 years, I want to assure you that some level of anxiety and stress is normal. In fact, some stress is good because it alerts us to threats and motivates us to take care of ourselves.
And, I urge you not to neglect your emotional well-being and self-care during these times. If gatherings, support groups, exercise classes or other outlets you usually rely on are off limits, try phone calls, social media and texting to stay in touch with those you care about.
Here are some other strategies to help while we are safely social distancing:
Strategies for Adults
- Practice relaxing and breathing. Take breaks during the day, practice relaxation skills and take deep breaths. As the old Johnny Mercer song goes, accentuate the positive!
- Stay positive. Start a journal and write about positive things going on in your life.
- Stay Connected. Check in with people through text, phone, email or social media.
- Keep in touch, especially with those you trust with your feelings, and share with them your thoughts, concerns and needs.
- Have some fun! Watch a movie, go for a walk, play games.
- Avoid too much exposure to news and information. You can watch a bit of news each day to stay informed, but don’t get absorbed by it. It can weigh you down.
- Take care of yourself physically. Exercise, eat healthy foods and get plenty of sleep.
Strategies to Help Young People in Your Life
- Talk and answer questions. Have daily discussions and ask your children if they have questions or concerns. Go over the facts with them.
- Reassure children that they are safe. Our community is taking extra care to ensure that we are practicing social distancing and taking other precautions to prevent the spread of this virus.
- Be a good role model. Practice good coping skills such as those above. Share the healthy ways you deal with stress.
- Limit media exposure.
- Keep structure in their lives. Work with your child to set a daily routine.
We’re in this Together
Try to remember: We’re all in this together, and hopefully soon, the “old normal” will return. Perhaps, we will even see our lives with new clarity and hope for a better future.
You can find more information in my podcast “Staying Sane During Social Distancing”.
If you find yourself anxious or if life seems overwhelming and this it’s impactive your daily life, or if you think you are having symptoms of depression, please take our free, online mental health screening.
Additionally, the Bryan Medical Center Bryan West Campus mental health emergency room is available 24/7 to determine if hospitalization is appropriate.
David Miers, PhD, LIPC
David Miers, PhD, LIPC, is the Counseling and Program Development Manager for mental health services at Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, Neb.