Mental Health and Coping During the Coronavirus Outbreak
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected virtually every person across the globe in some form. Those who are not identified as essential workers are either working from home or being laid off from their jobs. Everyone is focused on keeping social distances and staying safe and healthy. People with mental health and substance use issues may respond more strongly to this stress. Maintaining your mental health and coping during the coronavirus outbreak can be challenging but it is possible.
Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming but finding ways to cope with your stress can make you stronger. Your responses to the effects of the coronavirus outbreak are natural in a time of such crisis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that your stress during the coronavirus outbreak can include:
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Worsening of mental health conditions
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs which can initially make you feel better but in the long term can make your challenges even more difficult.
CDC also reassures you that may be experiencing some common reactions to the COVID-19 crisis:
- Concern about protecting yourself from the virus because you are at higher risk of serious illness.
- Concern that regular medical care or community services may be disrupted due to facility closures or reductions in services and public transport closure.
- Feeling socially isolated, especially if you live alone or are in a community setting that is not allowing visitors because of the outbreak.
- Guilt if your loved ones help you with activities of daily living.
- Increased levels of distress if you:
- Have mental health concerns before the outbreak, such as depression
- Live in lower-income households or have language barriers
- Experience stigma because of your age, race or ethnicity, disability, or perceived likelihood of spreading COVID-19.
Coping During the Outbreak
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) suggests some positive and productive steps you can take for maintaining your mental health and coping during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Take breaks from the news. Set aside periods of time each day during which you close your news and social media feeds and turn off the TV. Give yourself some time and space to think about and focus on other things.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat regular, well-balanced meals; get some physical activity every day; give yourself time to get a full night’s sleep; and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Make time to unwind. Try to engage in activities and hobbies you enjoy. Engaging in these activities offers an important outlet for pleasure, fun, and creativity.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. Digital tools can help keep you stay connected with friends, family, and neighbors when you aren’t able to see them in person.
- Set goals and priorities. Decide what must get done today and what can wait. Priorities may shift to reflect changes in schedules and routines and that is okay. Recognize what you have accomplished at the end of the day.
- Focus on the facts. Sharing the facts about COVID-19 and understanding the actual risk to yourself and people you care about can make an outbreak less stressful.
Take Advantage of Telehealth Services Available During COVID-19
Many healthcare organizations are offering telehealth services to their patients during COVID-19, to ensure they continue to receive adequate care for their physical and mental health needs. When you need continued therapy, counseling, and consulting, your mental health provider can take advantage of secure technology to guide you through your stress and anxiety during the coronavirus outbreak. Confidential, HIPAA-compliant telehealth options are also available for substance abuse treatment.
At R&A Therapeutic Partners, we have adapted our proven approach to an online platform. We will continue to work with you through the coronavirus outbreak for your mental health. We understand that during these times of increased stress you can be tempted to cope with new challenges in ways that are not healthy and that can even be self-destructive. It is critically important to take care of yourself and to seek support for your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
Contact R&A Therapeutic Partners for Help with Your Mental Health and Coping
When life becomes overwhelming, particularly during these challenging times, we support you and your mental health and coping needs. At R&A Therapeutic Partners, we will help you find the path that works best for you. We make it our priority to identify the tools that keep you engaged and thriving in your recovery, including providing telehealth options during COVID-19. We encourage you to contact the Miami therapeutic consultants Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno to find out the services R&A Therapeutic Partners offers. Call us at 786-452-7352 to schedule your appointment.
At R&A Therapeutic Partners Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno specialize in substance use and mental health disorder evaluations, treatment, intervention and therapeutic/educational consulting for clients throughout the greater South Florida area, as well as nationally and internationally. For more resources and information please visit Therapeutic-Partners.com or on Facebook.