Let’s face it: pandemics are stressful.
It’s easy to become fearful and anxious, especially if one is socially isolated, too.
Edward-Elmhurst Health said people who’ve already struggled with anxiety, depression or trauma may be at greater risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder.
Other risk factors include losing a loved one or being infected with COVID-19, losing a job, having financial concerns or working as a frontline health care worker or first responder.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention lists several signs that the pandemic may be impacting your mental health. These signs include:
• Fear and worry about your health and the health of loved ones, your financial situation or job and the loss of support services you need
• Changes in sleep or eating patterns
• Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
• Worsening of chronic health problems
• Worsening of mental health conditions
• Increased use of tobacco, and/or alcohol and other substances.
To help you address any stress or changes in your mental health, Edward-Elmhurst Health offers these seven coping strategies:
• Focus on what can be controlled, not what can’t
• Practice self-care
• Create a daily routine, eat healthy, get good sleep and manage stress
• Engage in healthy distractions, such as meditation, yoga, mindfulness, watching a favorite show, taking walks, listening to music, etc.
• Avoid using alcohol, tobacco or drugs. Unplug from the news, especially before bed
• Focus on positive stories of recovery
• Know that this too shall pass and the pandemic will eventually end
• Stay connected. Being isolated for a long time can trigger symptoms
• Reach out for help. If normal coping skills aren’t working, people may need additional support from a professional therapist.