As we all celebrate the end of a stressful and unforeseeable year, we can’t help but notice the significant increase in symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress over the last year during COVID-19. Those who have lost their jobs, those who have been sick themselves, or anyone who has seen how this disease is affecting our lives is likely to have some symptoms of these disorders.
Some common symptoms people have noticed that could be a sign of distress during COVID-19 are:
• Loss of motivation
• Isolating from loved ones
• A change in sleep patterns
• A change in eating patterns
• The feeling of fear, which affects relationships
• Any behavior that is out of character for you towards others
Focus on what you can control
Many people have asked what they can do to help mitigate the distress they feel during these trying times. When we get a sense that things are “out of our control”, we tend to become more nervous about what may happen to us or our loved ones. The “out of control” thought doesn’t leave us with much hope. To help feel more in control, try to focus on the things you CAN control. Here’s a list of things that may help:
Just the facts!
Get your facts about COVID from reliable resources. These are likely resources like the CDC (Center for Disease Control), your primary care doctor or your local Health Department.
Don’t believe everything you see
Facebook and Instagram are common culprits of false information. Remind your friends and children too that, “just because you see it on Facebook, doesn’t mean it’s true”.
Practice healthy habits
Protect yourself as recommended by the CDC. Wear facemasks or shields when in public. Wash your hands, and use hand sanitizer after washing. Clean surfaces regularly and stay 6 feet from others. These are just a few things within our control.
Exercise and eat right
Read, meditate, or practice mindfulness
Keep a schedule
Continue to get up and do daily chores, tasks, etc. Try to get up and go to bed the same as you would without COVID. This keeps our brain and body regulated.
Avoid alcohol or drug use
Connect with friends and community
Be creative. Use technology to have game nights online with friends. Schedule a video meeting with work. Watch church online. Keep things as normal as possible.
Seek professional help if needed
If none of these suggestions seem to help, seek professional help. Care Connect InstaVisit Professional and Licensed Therapists are available online to help you in these difficult times.