If the recent outbreak of COVID-19 has you anxious and stressed, you’re not alone. Many people are worried about how to keep themselves and their families safe. But you don’t have to let your fear consume you. Learn how to keep your mental health in check during this stressful time—and know when you might need to get help.
A certain level of stress is normal, but don’t let it get out of control. Some common reactions to stress can include:
- Changes in eating patterns
- Having a hard time concentrating
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling angry
- Having a stomachache
- Using alcohol, tobacco or other drugs more often
If stress keeps you from your normal routine for more than a few days, call your healthcare provider for help. If you become overwhelmed and feel like you want to hurt yourself or others, call 911 or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990.
There are lots of ways to help reduce stress and manage anxiety, even in times of crisis:
- Take a news break. While it’s good to know what’s going on, watching news of the virus 24/7 can cause more stress.
- Connect with friends and family. Even if you can’t be there in person, keep in touch virtually or by phone.
- Get some exercise. Tune in to online workouts or yoga classes. If possible, find time to get outside.
- Take your mind off the pandemic. Focus on something else, such as reading a book, cooking or watching a movie or favorite TV show.
- Help someone else. Find ways to help others, such as bringing groceries to those who can’t go out or keeping in touch with those who are alone.
In these challenging times, you may decide you need help to cope. West Pines Behavioral Health provides hope, healing and recovery from mental health conditions and addiction. Visit scl.health/journal-westpines.