Fear, anxiety, and isolation are a few mental health challenges so many are struggling with as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has gone pandemic. It has become so much more than just a physical virus; it is affecting our mental health.
Very importantly you can take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, do not let worry keep you from sleep. Take time to put on some relaxing music, drink a cup of warm milk or soothing tea, and when you are ready to lie down have the room dark and cool. Your body must be well rested to deal with all of the challenges you will face each day.
Try to spend a little time as possible, listening to social media that is based on COVID-19. You do need to keep updated, but limit how much you watch or listen to it.
Knock out anxiety by washing your hands! Use soap and water for 20 seconds and if you don’t have soap and water you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer for 10 seconds. Have fun with this! Sing a fun song: “I’m a Little Tea Pot”, “I Said a Boom Chick A Boom”, “Row Row Row Your Boat,” “Little Bunny Foo Foo,” “I’m Bringing home a Baby Bumble Bee” …basically any fun song, it doesn’t have to be the alphabet. When you smile, you reduce anxiety. When you think about and sing a favorite childhood song, you engage endorphins to feel good! Endorphins support a strong immune system, and your smile supports happiness, which is also contagious (the good kind).
Education may help reduce your fear. Although this is a highly contagious virus, it is not necessarily deadly for those who do not have a respiratory issue, chronic disease, or over 60 years old. Take time to take care of yourself. It doesn’t have to take a long time: take deep breaths if you notice you are over worrying, squeeze your eyes shut tightly and open slowly allowing yourself to notice something nice, stretch your arms above your head and stand on your toes for 5 seconds, or take time to exercise. You are important, and there are a lot of good things happening around you all the time.
If you or someone you know is struggling with strong emotions that are causing the desire to isolate in fear or panic, please seek help and/or encourage them to get the support needed to stay healthy both physically and emotionally. Talk to professionals or someone who is trusted that will listen and support your mental health.
Brought to you with love and support from Counseling Beyond with Dr. Melisa Fleming, LPC-S, LMFT