As we address the COVID-19 pandemic, we have adopted practices that support our safety and help reduce the potential for contracting the infection. While we have made our physical health a priority, it is equally important that we attend to our emotional health and wellness. With an influx of information about COVID-19 shared through multiple media outlets, coupled with drastic changes to our daily living, our worry and anxiety can be heightened. The American Psychological Association suggests several activities that help promote positive mental health during extremely stressful times. Please consider the following information as Mental Health PPE that can help prevent acute stressors from becoming long-term, chronic problems. <!–split–>
Strategies to Help Manage Stress and CENTER Yourself During the COVID-19 Pandemic
C – CONNECT: While face-to-face contact is limited, staying connected with family and friends through phone calls and video chat can help promote emotional support and resilience during times of stress.
E – EXERCISE: Take time to integrate exercise into your routine. In-home workouts or going outside to walk or run can be beneficial. Moderate aerobic activity has shown to help improve mood and reduce stress.
N – NOTICE: Monitor yourself to notice any signs of growing fatigue or stress. Prolonged changes in mood and behavior can be a sign that we need to seek additional help.
T – TAKE BREAKS: Taking mini breaks to go for a walk, perform mindful breathing, or meditation can help improve energy and renew focus.
E – EDUCATE: Rely on trusted sources of information to educate yourself and others about COVID-19. Place time limits on your media intake as it can increase stress and anxiety.
R – ROUTINE: Many of us have experienced a disruption to our daily living. Establishing a consistent routine is important for our overall wellness. It’s important to maintain a regular sleep schedule, maximize healthy eating, and limit alcohol consumption.
When to Seek Help – Know the Warning Signs
Not all people respond to stress in the same way. Some common signs to watch for include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Lack of appetite
- Unable to stop thinking about the COVID-19 virus
- Unable to stop think-ing about patients
- Feeling more anxious than usual
- Feeling more depressed than usual
- Feeling more irritable than usual
- Feeling more angry than usual
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating more than usual
- Memory difficulties more than usual
- Difficulty relaxing more than usual
How and Where to Seek Help:
- UnityPoint Health – Robert Young Center. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms listed above, there is help out there. Please ask about our video and telephone care options by calling (309) 779-3000.
- UnityPoint Health – Robert Young Center Crisis Hotline If you believe you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call the 24/7 crisis hotline at (309) 779-2999.
- NAMI Iowa is offering a free and confidential mental health resource line for children and adults. The NAMI Iowa non-crisis resource line is available by calling (515) 254-0417.
- Additional Resources: