How Covid 19 Affects Mental Health
Covid 19 and the resulting economic and social impact have negatively impacted the mental health of many people. Isolation and financial worries made a frightening situation even more stressful.
Stress can cause:
Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, worry, numbness, or frustration
Changes in appetite, energy, desires, and interests
Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
Difficulty sleeping or having nightmares
Physical reactions such as headaches, body aches, stomach problems and rashes
Worsening chronic health problems
Worsening mental illness
Increased consumption of tobacco, alcohol and other substances
Helen Lee Schifter has many techniques for maintaining a positive attitude. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to messages, including those on social media. It’s good to be informed, but constantly hearing about the pandemic can be annoying. Limit messages to a few times a day and disconnect them from phone, television, and computer screens for a while.
Whether you’re running, walking, doing yoga, or exercising with weights at home, exercise is a great way to reduce stress. The released endorphins promote well-being and of course it is always important to stay healthy.
Take a deep breath
Deep breathing helps people calm down. Stretching and meditation are other great ways to relax.
Get a lot of sleep
Sleep is good for the immune system and better sleep = better mood.
Avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco and substance use
It’s easy to fall victim to our vices when we are stressed, but it will only make us feel worse in the end.
Get a COVID-19 vaccine when available
The vaccine is becoming more widely available and is the best way to stop the virus from spreading.
Take some time to relax
Do fun activities like reading, puzzles, games. Even watching a favorite series is a great way to relax.
Connect with others
This is a great time to build community connections. While social distancing still persists, many communities offer email lists and outside activities. Faith-based organizations have online services and worship groups. As you walk around the neighborhood, take the time to stop and say hello to the neighbors, maybe even make new friends. Connect with loved ones through phone calls, video calls, emails, and even old-fashioned snail mail! Helen Lee Schifter says she loves getting letters in her mailbox and she loves sending them too. Letters can be turned into small works of art with just a few colored pencils or markers, stickers, or even pressed flowers.
During these difficult times, it is important to take care of your body and mind. The more energy we put into ourselves, the better we will feel and the easier it will be to overcome this. Use this time to slow down and connect with others in possible ways. This could be a great time to reconnect with ourselves and our loved ones, look inside, and find out what is really important to us.