Mental Health Awareness Month and COVID-19
As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, now is a great time to reflect on how you are coping with COVID-19 related stress and changes. Many people feel understandably elevated levels of stress during this pandemic. Although it can be scary, it is absolutely normal to be stressed and anxious during times of uncertainty. We are confronted by new sources of stress and familiar coping strategies may be difficult to apply in the present circumstances. Seeking out and implementing new ways to cope with COVID-19 stress will make you and your community stronger and more resilient.
During these unprecedented times our personal and professional lives have converged into a single location or working on the frontline in uncertain and ever-evolving conditions. These unexpected and quick changes can have a significant psychological impact especially among those who fall within the identified vulnerable populations such as healthcare workers, racial minorities, and persons with pre-existing conditions.
However, overwhelming stress, anxiety, and fear-based obsessive worrying about yourself and/or loved ones in relation to physical, mental, spiritual, and/or financial health, when left untreated, can have a significant impact on your overall wellbeing leading to:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Disease progression and/or development of new chronic or acute medical issues
- Development of, increased, or resurgence of substance abuse
- Trouble concentrating
- Decreased productivity/difficulty managing workload
- Becoming easily overwhelmed
- Chronic fatigue
- Inability to adjust to the “new normal”
With that said, one of the most effective methods to manage stress and anxiety is to focus on the things in your life that are within your control and seek help for those not. Below are some intentional simple steps to establish and maintain control over your physical, mental, spiritual, and financial wellbeing:
- Use your support system
- Communicate needs and seek assistance regularly
- Access employer resources such as employee support groups and EAP services
- Acknowledge your feelings and use your coping mechanisms
- Relax and recharge
- Continue daily routines including activities as much as possible
- Social distancing does not mean social disconnection…so stay so connected
- Don’t be afraid to say no and maintain boundaries
- Limit consumption of media and news
- Maintain positivity
- Limit spending on non-essential areas
REMEMBER: While, the health crisis and impact on systems caused by COVID-19 is outside of your control and you must adjust accordingly, even when a “new normal” becomes routine, mental wellbeing is an essential life-long process.
Howard Brown Health offers many online support groups that are open to the public. Find a virtual mental wellness group that’s right for you.