With the current social concerns with the Covid-19 global emergency, I wanted to touch base on how to support your loved ones and yourselves during this time of uncertainty.
Anxiety spikes combined with social distancing, although lifesaving and absolutely necessary, can lead to an increase in anxiety and depression in some people and it is important to normalize their experience. We can expect to see an increase in crisis activities and overall anxiety. Panic may increase for many people.
With preventive measures, such as social distancing and quarantine, folks have decreased support and less access to healthcare. On top of that, news and social media coverage increases anxiety and can be triggering. Common fears include:
- Fear and worry about one’s own health and the health of loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
It is imperative to call and check in with your more vulnerable friends and family during this time.
Some coping strategies to help others:
- Elicit and remind your friend of the things they DO control.
- Remind them to take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news and social media regarding this outbreak. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Remind them to connect with others. Encourage them to talk to loved ones using technology such as smartphones, computers, or the telephone.
- Remind them to reach out to a counselor for help and support. There are many telephone support lines available.
- Remind them to take care of their body. Take deep breaths. Practice mindfulness. Eat as healthy as possible. Sleep regularly. Take a walk outdoors. Avoid crowded spaces.
- Be present when you’re listening and helping your friend.
Some coping strategies to help yourself:
- Create a menu of personal self-care activities that you enjoy, such as safely spending time with friends and family, exercising, or reading a book.
- Take a break from media coverage of COVID-19.
- Ask for help if you feel overwhelmed or concerned that COVID-19 is affecting your ability to care for yourself.
- Remind yourself that you are doing a great job at this stressful time!