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  • Writer's pictureWorth Counseling Group

How to Deal with Covid-19 and Mental Health Issues


The COVID-19 pandemic has taken lives. It's affecting jobs. It's permanently closed businesses. It's affected how we grieve. It's canceled vacations, weddings, and sports events. It's caused burnout. We are all experiencing a collective trauma.

It has likely brought many changes to how you live your life, and with it uncertainty, altered daily routines, financial pressures and social isolation. You may worry about getting sick, how long the pandemic will last, whether you'll lose your job, and what the future will bring. Information overload, rumors and misinformation can make your life feel out of control and make it unclear of what to do.

And what’s worse than that? We're having to work through these stressors and deal with these emotional events without our normal coping mechanisms — each other.

Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety. And with so many people experiencing increased levels of stress and stressful events, it takes a toll on the entire community.

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you respond to stress during the COVID-19 pandemic can depend on your emotional health, your social support from family or friends, your financial situation, your psychological health, the community you live in, and many other factors.

How To Deal With COVID-19 And Mental Health Issues

The changes that can happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ways we try to contain the spread of the virus can affect anyone. So much so that mental health professionals are seeing some very concerning trends when it comes to our collective mental health this year.


Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can sometimes cause the following:

Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on.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.

Even under normal circumstances, good mental health is crucial to the functioning of society. During a pandemic, however, it can affect how we respond and recover. Even before COVID-19, mental health conditions were prevalent, accounting for about 13% globally. Yet, the world was woefully unprepared to deal with the mental health impact of this pandemic.

How To Deal With COVID-19 And Mental Health Issues


CDC says that people who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis may include:

Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19Children and teensPeople who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors, other health care providers, and first respondersPeople who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use

Stress can affect the way you think, feel and act. Most of the effects are normal reactions to distressing events and are generally short-lived. By taking care of yourself, you can reduce the negative impact of stress by anticipating normal reactions, practicing stress-reducing activities, and seeking help.

Here are some self-care tips on how to cope with mental stress brought by the pandemic:

Know what to do if you are sick and are concerned about COVID- 19. Contact a health professional before you start any self- treatment for COVID-19.

Know where and how to get treatment and other support services and resources, including counseling or therapy (in person or through telehealth services).

How To Deal With COVID-19 And Mental Health Issues


Know what to do if you are sick and are concerned about COVID- 19. Contact a health professional before you start any self- treatment for COVID-19.

Know where and how to get treatment and other support services and resources, including counseling or therapy (in person or through telehealth services).

Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.

Take care of your body. Try to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs. Try taking deep breaths, stretching or meditation.

Pay special attention to your mental and emotional health. It will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect yourself and your family. Make time to reflect, meditate or pray.

Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

Comfort yourself. Save time for activities you find relaxing and spend time with people you enjoy.

Boost your resiliency. Focus on your strengths. Stay connected with your support system as much as possible.

How To Deal With COVID-19 And Mental Health Issues


Take a time-out. It is okay to take time off and unplug from technology.

Manage your workload. Prioritize your tasks and balance your work and home life. Try to maintain daily routines as much as possible. Take breaks and time off.

Reach out. If you feel overwhelmed, or if you need help coping, you can contact anyone you know who can help you, your family, or a confidential helpline, or counselors.

If you're feeling suicidal or thinking of hurting yourself, seek help immediately. Contact your primary care provider or a mental health professional.

The Covid-19 pandemic has alarming implications for individual and collective health and emotional and social functioning most especially if you have been infected and were put in isolation and it can be stressful to be separated from others if you have or were exposed to COVID-19. Each person ending a period of home isolation may feel differently about it.

Emotional reactions may include:

Mixed emotions, including relief.

Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones.

How To Deal With COVID-19 And Mental Health Issues


Mixed emotions, including relief.

Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones.

Stress from the experience of having COVID-19 and monitoring yourself, or being monitored by others.

Sadness, anger, or frustration because friends or loved ones have fears of getting the disease from you, even though you are cleared to be around others.

Guilt about not being able to perform normal work or parenting duties while you had COVID-19.

Worry about getting re-infected or sick again even though you’ve already had COVID-19.

Other emotional or mental health changes.

How To Deal With COVID-19 And Mental Health Issues


And here are some tips on how you can improve your mental health:

1. Be conscious of what you're doing too much or too little of.

Handling stress becomes easier with balance and routine. If you're noticing that you're on the couch more than usual, get up for a walk, make time for an at-home workout or find some other way to get active.

If you're restless and can't sit still, do something that's mentally calming, such as yoga, deep breathing exercises or meditating.

2. Check in on your thoughts. Mental health experts recommend documenting your thoughts in a journal and reflecting on whether any seem extreme, overly negative or rooted in anxiety.

Replace an overly negative thought with one that's more realistic by "balancing the scales." Do this by balancing your most negative thought with the most positive alternative — eventually allowing yourself to settle in the middle on the scenario that's actually most realistic.

How To Deal With COVID-19 And Mental Health Issues


3. Refocus your perspective. You lose perspective when in a state of distress, but there are several ways to get back to a healthy place. For instance, you can take time to focus on three things you're genuinely grateful for — whether it's a sunset, a loved one or the simple pleasure of life. In addition, talking and connecting with others is a good way to get perspective.

With everything that's happened, and is still happening, this year, it's understandable if you're "feeling it" a lot more than usual. Hoping mental health problems such as anxiety or depression will go away on their own can lead to worsening symptoms. Continue these self-care practices to take care of your mental health and increase your ability to cope with life's ongoing challenges. Take action now to prevent your stress from boiling over to the point of a state of distress and ask for expert’s help if needed.

How To Deal With COVID-19 And Mental Health Issues


By: Shelly Killingsworth

Website: http://www.worth-counseling.com/ Email Address: worthcounselinggroup@gmail.com

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