The Struggle is Real: Coping During Covid

What am I Feeling and is it Normal?

Coronavirus is far from over and another concern is already affecting our society and that is our collective mental health. I am sure that I'm not alone in feeling that I have struggled with anxiety and depression during the lockdown and the constant change in message in regard to Covid-19. If you don't feel as strong or comfortable as you were before "the new normal, " it's ok. There is nothing wrong with feeling that something isn't right.

If you were never concerned about your mental health before, you may be noticing that you have had feelings that are unusual for you. This could be feelings of anger or sadness, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, losing interest in things you used to enjoy (or can no longer enjoy due to the pandemic), physical pain, or even increased use of alcohol or drugs to help you cope. Fortunately, getting help for mental health issues has actually gotten easier for many by utilizing tele-heath services to speak to a therapist or psychiatrist. Telehealth allow appointments to be made by phone or video, from the safety of your home. This can alleviate the stress of walking into a stranger's office for an appointment. Most insurance plans cover tele-health visits, but check with your insurer to be sure.

What Can I Do to Cope?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers several healthy ways to cope with stress. They have more information here. This includes exercising regularly. This not only is good for your health, but if you able to get outside, you can soak up some Vitamin D. Getting a good night's sleep is very important in easing the day's stress. If you struggle to fall asleep, try turning off screens 30 minutes before you go to bed and read or listen to music. This can clear your mind and ease you into sleep quicker. Trying to have a regular sleep schedule may also help. Go to bed at the same time each night, and get up around the same time each day, including weekends. Eating well balanced meals is not always easy, but staying healthy can mean avoiding pandemic lockdown weight gain that can affect self esteem and the ability to keep moving. Finally, avoid the news. Hearing the same information again and again will wear you down.

It has been a year unlike any we have encountered in the past, and 2021 hasn't been much easier for many. Try to remember that this won't last forever, so utilize your support system when you need a boost. If possible, think of the things you are grateful for. Personally, I have enjoyed extra time with my husband and pets since working from home. I have also found time to focus on hobbies that had been neglected for too long. Taking some "me time" is relaxing and can vary my daily routine. It may feel like this will never end but we will get through this, and you are not alone.

Mental Health Help is Just a Phone Call or Text Away:

Resources if you or someone you know is having a mental health crisis:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522

Veteran's Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text: 8388255

If you think others could benefit from this information, please share!

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