If you log onto social media, you have likely seen the images of barren supermarket shelves and long checkout lines as people react to recommendations to keep their distance from others in the face of COVID-19. With so many unknowns and constant updates flooding the media, it’s understandable that many people feel worried about how COVID-19 will continue to develop. In this post, I will explore ways to cope so you can stay informed while protecting your mental health.
Learn Coping Skills by Working with Me Through Online Counseling in New Jersey
As we are encouraged to practice social distancing, we can lose a sense of normalcy in our lives. Fortunately, online counseling makes it possible for people to continue receiving mental health support during the changes we are experiencing. Contact me to learn more about working together through online counseling in New Jersey.
Focus on What You Can Control
By focusing on what we can control, we empower ourselves to do what we can to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you find yourself getting lost in the barrage of new information being released, try to bring your focus back to the things that are in your control, such as the steps you can personally take to prevent the spread of the virus.
Let’s take a look at how COVID-19 is spread 1…
Equipping yourself with knowledge about how the virus spreads and what you can do to protect yourself and prevent the spread of the virus are important ways you are able to exercise control.
-When two people are close to one another (within a distance of six feet)
-When respiratory droplets from someone who is infected come into contact with other people
-It is possible that the virus is spread through contact with infected surfaces, though this is not considered to be the primary way that the virus is spread.
How can you prevent the spread of COVID-19? 2
-Frequently wash your hands for a period of 20 seconds, particularly after doing things like coughing, sneezing, before you eat, being in a public place, etc.
-If your hands are not washed, keep them away from your face (eyes, nose, and mouth).
-Try not to come into close contact with individuals who are sick.
-Practice social distancing.
-If you are sick, stay home.
-Frequently clean surfaces that are used often throughout the day.
How to Support Your Mental Health During this Time
It is especially important not to neglect your mental health during stressful times. It’s natural to experience some anxiety in the midst of so much uncertainty, however, the steps you take to manage your mental health can be the difference between feeling centered or out of control. Pay attention to stress signals in your body to know if you could be doing more to take care of your mental health. Stress symptoms could show up in some of the following ways: difficulty sleeping, digestive issues, lowered immune response, lack of energy, difficulty focusing, moodiness, being overwhelmed, avoidance, racing thoughts, or physical tension.
Here are some things you can do to take care of yourself in the midst of COVID-19:
-Limit your intake of information related to the pandemic. Yes, it’s important to be informed, but it’s not helpful to be so bogged down with information that your head is spinning. If you are having a hard time curbing your media intake, try designating a couple of times a day where you check in with the news for 15 minutes, then commit to taking a break the rest of the time.
-Use your breath to manage your anxiety. Certain breathing techniques have the power to make us feel more relaxed. Check out my post on how to manage your stress through breathing.
-Continue to or start taking care of your body by exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep. You may be tempted to make a “Quarantini,” but remember that alcohol impairs your immune system.
-Reach out to others for support. Even if you can’t be together in person, make a point to call or video chat with friends or loved ones.
-Do things you enjoy! Take time to read, watch a movie, play games, create something – there are plenty of ways to have fun even if you are practicing social distancing.
Sarah Tronco, LCSW, provides online counseling in New Jersey and works to develop a strong therapeutic relationship with her clients, which helps to create a secure place where individuals can achieve meaningful change.
3. Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash