The coronavirus is like nothing we’ve ever experienced. So it is no great shock that stress and anxiety about COVID-19, coupled with increased social distancing and isolation, is affecting our mental health. It also makes sense that Americans are feeling more anxiety, fear, and depression, than normal.
Are you or someone you know struggling with mental health and coping during COVID-19? Here’s the good news. There are plenty of resources out there about how to directly deal with coronavirus anxiety. Social Distancing does not need to mean isolation. Keep reading this article for a closer look at what the coronavirus is doing to our mental health, as well as coping strategies for the COVID-19 pandemic.
What Coronavirus Is Doing To Our Mental Health
We are all living in very stressful and uncertain times right now. Never have Americans experienced a pandemic that has impacted employment, education, and the economy in ways the coronavirus has. Lest we forget the effect it’s had on our social lives, sleep patterns, and, of course, mental health. All of which is creating a great deal of anxiety, fear, and even depression for us all.
Coping Strategies for COVID-19 Pandemic
So what can you do about your COVID-19 anxiety? Here’s how to cope with your anxieties over the pandemic.
Take a breather— First things first: stop what you’re doing and take a minute to breathe. Science shows that taking a breather can help interrupt your anxiety, reduce your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and even retrain your brain to change unhelpful thinking patterns. Be sure to take slow, deep breaths from the abdomen if you can, being sure to pause between the breath in and the breath out. If your thoughts get distracted, acknowledge these thoughts, and then redirect back to the breathing.
Move around – Exercise is beneficial for stress and overall mood. Even if it’s just taking a walk up and down your block, or de-stressing with a 15-minute yoga class on YouTube, your mind and body will thank you. Exercise helps release endorphins and boost the availability of Serotonin in the brain, increasing your energy level overall and gives you a positive feeling.
Acknowledge your feelings — Ignoring your anxiety, or beating yourself up for it, is tempting, but it probably won’t help in the end. Acknowledging your feelings, even if they’re scary, can help you cope in a healthy way.
Remember you’re not alone—Nothing about the days we are living in is ‘normal’, so there’s nothing wrong with you for feeling anxious and on-edge. You’re not the only one who’s freaking out over COVID-19. This pandemic is legitimately frightening, and fear is a normal, natural response. Remember that it’s okay to feel what you’re feeling, but there are healthy ways to process your anxiety, and you can always reach out for support if you need it. Again, social distancing does not need to mean isolation. Seeking assistance virtually is an excellent option if you prefer not to leave the home.
Get help if you need it – If you are noticing stress impacting your mood, sleep, or eating patterns, it’s a good idea to reach out for professional help. Especially if you’re really struggling to keep your anxiety under control, don’t wait. Get help. You will be glad you did.
Until You Get Through This, Count On Our Support
In difficult times, you need to be able to turn to experts who understand and can help strengthen your mental well-being. Brevard Health Alliance is here for you. We offer behavioral health services to help your mental health during the COVID-19 scare. Read more about our behavioral health services, or click here to schedule a virtual visit.