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Checking in With Your Mental Health During the Pandemic

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With COVID-19 cases spiking, new variants, and the reopening of some workplaces and schools, it can be hard to feel calm right now. These are unprecedented times, and our normal routines have been turned upside-down for a while.

We’re navigating feelings of worry, disappointment — maybe even panic — on a daily basis. It’s understandable to be stressed. So we’re here to offer ways to check in with yourself to reduce anxiety and manage uncertainty.

 

Who is Likely to Feel More Stress?

Everyone experiences stress and handles it in different ways, but some groups are experiencing heightened anxiety, worry and fear at this time. Groups at higher risk for increased anxiety during the pandemic include:

  • Children and teens
  • Health care workers
  • People with preexisting mental health conditions
  • Those at risk for developing a severe case of COVID-19

Recognizing and understanding stress in both yourself and others, and offering grace and support, can reduce suffering, lift spirits and strengthen all of us — together.

Here are some of the most common anxiety symptoms. If you or a loved one are experiencing heightened anxiety, be sure to provide some extra patience, understanding and care.

Anxiety Symptoms

  • Appetite changes
  • Constant worrying
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Edginess
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Nervousness
  • Stomachache

 

Stress Management Tips

Connecting with yourself and others is a powerful way to combat anxiety during the pandemic. Here are some ideas on how to cope with all the stress.

  1. Be Creative: Using your hands and the creative part of your brain can be a wonderful stress reliever. It allows you to connect with yourself, helps you focus on the present moment and also brings great joy as you create. Use any arts and crafts supplies you have on hand to create something meaningful. Draw, paint or sculpt your feelings. Connect with your musical side by playing or learning to play an instrument. You can garden and even create culinary delights with your harvest to share with family and friends, like homemade bread or “farm-to-table” pizza. The possibilities are endless.
  2. Control What You Can: These are uncertain times. As COVID-19 surges ebb and flow, many of us are left feeling “out of control.” Remind yourself that there are still things within your power to control by organizing your home, deep cleaning, wearing your mask, washing hands and getting your vaccine. Stick to a routine as much as possible to feel a sense of normalcy.
  3. Lessen Media Consumption: While you continue to stay informed, make sure that your news sources regarding the pandemic are reliable, such as our Coronavirus Resource Hub or the CDC. But limit your news consumption to no more than a few times a day. Check in during the morning and afternoon, but avoid doing so right before bed.
  4. Get Outdoors: While there may be challenges depending on where you live and the time of year, getting outside as much as you can even for short spurts is a great stress reducer. Going outside can help get you “out of your head” as you breathe in the fresh air and notice your surroundings. Being outdoors also promotes more physical activity like walking and jogging, which relieves anxiety too. You can be in the open air and stay active while also practicing social distancing.
  5. Try Relaxation Techniques: Deep breathing, progressive relaxation and other techniques can make a big difference in your mood — in just a few minutes each day.
  6. Seek Support: Making your mental health is a priority especially during these trying times. We all need a helping hand and a compassionate, listening ear. Reach out to family, friends and trusted mentors whenever possible. You can also find a mental health professional who can help you navigate your challenges. Many therapists even offer virtual visits to meet your needs.

 

Keeping You Healthy and Whole

At AdventHealth, we strive for your whole-person health — staying well in body, mind and spirit. Checking in with your mental health is so important. If you find you’re having trouble coping and need additional support, we’re here for you. You can explore our mental health services here .

Know that it’s okay to reach out. Our expert team of physicians, psychologists, counselors and social workers will care for you with the uncommon compassion that you deserve to make you feel whole.

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