COVID-19 has been all over the news. It has been on all our minds. It has had a huge impact on everyday life. States have been going into states of emergencies and businesses are closing. People are out of work. There is a lot of stress and anxiety surrounding this virus. Considering how fast this is spreading, it is time to take a deep breath and focus on what we can do to protect ourselves and those around us.
Mental Health and Emotional Health
Everyone should take time every now and then to check-in with themselves. Mental health and emotional health are two of the most important things that we sometimes overlook. Good mental health is a person’s ability to fulfil multiple key functions and activities. They should have the abilities to learn and learn.
They should be able to express and maintain a range of positive and negative emotions. Emotional health and mental health play hand-in-hand. Emotional health is being in control of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They should be able to cope with most of life’s challenges. Keeping problems in perspective and having the ability to bounce back from setbacks are signs of emotional health.
Maintaining positive relationships with others and feeling good about themselves are signs of good mental and emotional health. Will we hit every target every single time? No, and that is ok. It is how we deal with everyday challenges that can let us know if we are too stressed out or too anxiety-ridden.
COVID-19 has taken over the news morning and night. This has been stressful for everyone in one way or another. Fear and anxiety about something of this scale that we do not have control over will evoke negative thoughts and feelings. The ones that may stress the most about this outbreak are the eldery, people with preexisting conditions, and healthcare workers. These are the people that are at a higher risk to contract this disease.
This virus does not discriminate, however. There are steps everyone can take to help protect ourselves and those around us. One may think that because they are young and healthy they can go out and put themselves at risk. But, if you get sick and do not know it yet, you are putting every person you pass in danger. There are small things you can do to help protect yourself:
- Wash your hands! After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose wash your hands. Wash for at least 20 seconds. Here is a video from The CDC about proper hand washing.
- If soap and water are not readily available use hand sanitizer, with at least 60% alcohol, on the front and back of your hands until it feels dry.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, eyes, or face with unwashed hands.
There are things we can do to help protect others, as well.
- If you feel sick- stay home.
- Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. Use a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Then immediately wash your hands or use hand sanitizer (if soap and water are unavailable.)
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched places like doorknobs, lightswitches, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.
Feeling overwhelmed, worried or concerned, or even fear is natural. The best way to respond to this outbreak is together, if we do it the right way. Practicing social distancing is the right thing to do, but that does not mean we have to close ourselves off from the world. This is the perfect time to have your children teach their grandparents how to use FaceTime (over the phone) or getting together over social media with friends to just talk and vent. Coping with these feelings can help make you and your families and our communities stronger. There is always a time to take a step back and check in on ourselves. There are a few things you can do to keep calm during these crazy times.
- Take a break from watching or reading the news concerning COVID-19, including social media. Hearing or reading about this pandemic repeatedly can just be upsetting.
- Take care of yourself. Take time to yourself to clear your mind. Read a book. Go sit in your backyard and take in the sounds of nature. Remember to remember the little things.
- Try to eat healthier, well-balanced meals, get more exercise, rest and get plenty of sleep.
- Don’t hesitate to talk to people you trust. If you need to vent, talk to someone. Don’t keep your fears bottled up.
These truly are unprecedented times. This is unlike anything we have seen in modern history. However, if there is one thing that has always worked in times of tragedy it has been being a part of a community. Coming together and helping each other is how we solve problems and begin to heal. If we can follow the simple steps of washing our hands and social distancing we can help to stop spreading this thing. We can also find creative ways to keep each other’s spirits up.
Struggling with Substance Abuse
For those struggling with substance abuse, this virus has impacted you, too. Although some may not understand, the people dealing with similar issues do. If you are out there struggling- rehab is the safest and most helpful place for you to be. Reach out to those who can understand and help you.