A recent poll by the American Psychiatric Association reported that 36% of Americans felt that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on their mental health. Almost half of those polled (48%) were anxious about the possibility of contracting COVID-19. However, far more were (62%) are anxious about the possibility of family or loved one getting ill from the coronavirus.
Social distancing and quarantining have led to increased reports of trouble with sleeping, excessive consumption of alcohol and/or other drugs/substances, and increased fighting with loved ones. The APA also reported that 24% of Americans have had trouble concentrating on work because they are thinking about coronavirus.
APA President Bruce Schwartz, M.D. said “The stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic can and is having an effect on people’s physical and mental health. During this time, it is important to do what we can to maintain self-care and manage the stress.”
Call our office if you need help with situational depression and anxiety related to COVID-19. Here are a few suggestions that may help you better cope with the pandemic.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF VIDEO CONFERENCING, TEXTING, PHONE CALLS & ONLINE HANGOUTS: I have used Zoom and Facetime to stay in touch with my family and friends. I have also participated in several work and church related meetings. It is nice to see people’s faces and their homes.
KEEP A SCHEDULE: Now is not the time to lay around in your bed all day. Get up, exercise, shower, and get ready for the day as if it were any other. Schedule times for work/school-work and take regularly scheduled breaks. Keeping a schedule will help you feel more productive through the day. Decreased productivity can be a precursor to depression.
TAKE ADVENTAGE OF COMMUNITY RESOURCES: You don’t have to figure this out alone. Stay in contact with your friends and family. Text, call, or video chat regularly. Share your coping tricks and life-hacks with others and don’t be afraid to ask for theirs. We are all in this together! You can check our blog post on Free Online Entertainment and Educational Resources. Share it with your friends!
BE PROACTIVE: Take your pent-up energy (or your kids energy) and channel it into something good. Last week my children were delighted to find a note on our doorstep telling them that a surprise Easter-egg hunt (with sterilized eggs) was set up in the front yard. My wife and I were touched by the joy that this simple act of kindness brought into your home. Right now, lots of people need joy. Check in with your senior neighbors, offer to pick up groceries for them next time your make a run. Offer to walk their dog. Toilet paper their house by leaving a few rolls on the doorstep. The possibilities are endless.
INVEST IN YOURSELF: As I mentioned before, we have a list of free educational links on our blog. You can use your extra time to try an online yoga class or learn to cook. That guitar you always wanted to learn to play is still there, dust it off and sign up for a few weeks of free classes. Share the experience with your family and friends. Do it together!
GET OUTSIDE: Our current guidelines do not prevent us from getting out, especially with your family. Taking a walk or hike is still OK. The weather is getting better, so enjoy the sunshine when you can and take a deep breath of air.
DON’T INDULGE: As mentioned before, more and more Americans are coping with alcohol and other drugs. Try to treat your week like any other. Keep your schedule, stay accountable, exercise regularly, work/study, stay connected to others, and get good sleep. Consistency is the key.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP: We are living in strange times and we don’t know when this will end. Many of us have been asked to do jobs that we didn’t sign up for. Being a mother, father and schoolteacher isn’t an easy task, especially when you have children in elementary, middle school and high school.
If you need help with situational depression and anxiety, please call. Dr. Arrington is happy to meet with you to discuss options that may help.
You are not in this alone!