HAS THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC NEGATIVELY IMPACTED YOUR MENTAL HEALTH? IF SO, YOU'RE NOT ALONE.
The rapid changes and uncertainty that accompanied COVID-19 have had a negative impact causing a major increase in reports of stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms. Concerns over getting sick, losing loved ones, financial security, and the future in general can be overwhelming. Underlying medical and mental health conditions can be exasperated during this time. To mediate the impact of COVID-19 on your overall health, we recommend developing and maintaining a variety of self-care strategies. You likely have one or more “go to” strategies for managing stress levels on a regular basis, but you may have noticed your typical methods aren’t working as well as they had in the past due to the numerous ways your life has changed over the past year.
Filling your personal “tool box” with a variety of self-care options can help improve your ability to navigate these unprecedented times. We recommend utilizing strategies that will mediate physical as well as mental health. Taking care of yourself mentally and physically during this time is especially important. Some common self-care strategies for mental wellness are:
• Maintaining a consistent routine for eating/sleeping/work/exercise
• Limiting your exposure to the news/social media
• Engaging in preferred hobbies to utilize your free time
• Focusing on the positives
• Reaching out for social/spiritual support
• Setting reasonable goals for yourself and your time
• Finding ways to reach out and help others
• Setting aside time for yourself to de-stress, relax, and recharge
• Participating in regular exercise
• Maintaining a consistent sleep routine
• Eating a healthy diet
• Drinking plenty of water
• Limiting your screen time
• Avoiding tobacco, alcohol, and drugs
WHEN YOU MIGHT NEED MORE THAN JUST A “TOOL BOX” FULL OF STRATEGIES
If you have concerns about mental health symptoms developing or a worsening of symptoms, ask for help. There are a variety of ways to access help for these concerns:
• Call or reach out to a close friend or loved one for support
• Call or ask for a referral to your employee assistance program
• Reach out to someone at your school if you are a student
• Call or schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor
• Call or reach out to a spiritual advisor or someone who shares your faith
• Call or schedule an appointment with a mental health professional
• Call or reach out to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (Erie: 814.456.1773) (Crawford/Venango: 814.333.2924)
IF YOU ARE FEELING SUICIDAL, SEEK HELP IMMEDIATELY!
THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE IS 1.800.273.8255.
LOCAL SUPPORT INCLUDES:
Erie County: 814.456.2014
Crawford County: 814.724.2732
Forest/ Warren: 814.726.8413 8:30am until 5pm 1.800.406.1255 after hours
Venango County: 814.432.9111
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Robin S Archer Phd
is the founder of Mindful Paths Network, a group supporting counselors in their own private practice missions to provide counseling services for children, adolescents, adults, groups, couples, and families experiencing a wide variety of behavioral and mental health concerns. Mindful Paths Network's newsletter addresses a variety of mental health concerns. This blog is an extension of the newsletter which is not currently available by email request.