What to Know About Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Your Mental Health
It’s normal to be experiencing increased stress and anxiety right now. It is important to be gentle with yourself and others, and to take steps to support both your own and your family’s mental well-being. Consider these tips to support your mental well-being during the COVID-19 response. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, such as the COVID-19 outbreak that will require social distancing, quarantine and some isolation. These reactions are completely normal. You may feel:
- Anxiety, worry, or fear related to your own health status and those you care about
- Frustration at the challenge of securing things you need, such as groceries and personal care items
- Concern about effectively caring for children, parents and others in your care
- Uncertainty or frustration about how long you will need to remain in this situation
- Loneliness and feeling cut off from your normal routine
- Anger if you think you were exposed to the disease
- Boredom and frustration if you are unable to engage in regular day-to-day activities
- Unease about your financial situation and the future of the economy
- Ambivalence or uncertainty about the situation
- Disappointment for cancelled events with family and friends, closed restaurants and gathering places
Tips to remain connected while practicing social distancing or in quarantine:
- Use technology to stay in touch if available, especially video contact. Seeing someone’s facial expressions can help increase connection.
- Check in with your friends, family, and neighbors regularly, using texts, phone calls, emails and other virtual tools.
- Wherever you can, help people in your life who may be more vulnerable (e.g. those with no access to the internet or need help grocery shopping)
- Connect with the people in your household. Use this time to improve your existing relationships!
- Manage your stress. Create a daily self-care routine. Exercise, meditate, and keep to a daily routine as much as possible.
- Show kindness to others in your community. This is very stressful for many people, especially those who are vulnerable and families who may be struggling already with poverty or other family stressors. It is also very stressful for health care workers and their families. Helping others increases your sense of purpose and value, improving your own well-being. It’s not just family and friends who require support, but others in your community.
Self Care & Routines
Self-care practices are personal and can include reading a book, listening to music, walking the dog, working on a project or eating healthy. During stressful times, try to stick to your routine to maintain a sense of normalcy and to manage stress. Wake up and eat meals at your regular time, and get dressed even while you are staying at home.Facts Not Fear
It’s important to protect each other and our community against COVID-19 by frequently washing our hands for 20 seconds and staying home when sick. Practice social distancing by staying out of crowds with more than 10 people and avoid public places to reduce the spread of germs.
It’s important to not pass along or spread misinformation. Recognize when other people’s fears and anxieties are influencing your own emotional or mental health. Take a deep breath and reach out to your support system.Information, real or rumor, is a constant in today’s society. It’s important to have the facts and stay up-to-date, but when information creates a barrier to daily functioning, it can increase fear and anxiety. Be aware of how plugged in you are and what you are exposing yourself to.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline
1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
Arkansas Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention