Mental Health & Well-Being Amidst COVID 19
The outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the disruption of routine may be stressful for you or people you know and care about. Fear and anxiety about a disease is a normal response and it can be overwhelming, causing strong emotions in adults and children. Effectively coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community, stronger.
Children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with any sort of crisis calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Research shows that your Central Nervous System IS THE INTERVENTION when it comes to providing a sense of ease in young people. This means making time for yourself so that your self-care “ritual” has a “trickle down effect” of a calming presence and reassurance that things will be alright.
Things you can do to support yourself
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting and keeps the “stress response” engaged.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, go for a walk/run, or meditate. For info on meditation and breathing visit the Arlington High School “Mindfulness Room”
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy (i.e. reading a book, watching a comedy show/movie, knitting, coloring).
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Practice gratitude and encourage your children to practice it as well. Each day, tell each other three things you feel grateful for.
Common Signs of Distress
If you experience these feelings or behaviors for several days in a row and are unable to carry out normal responsibilities because of them, seek professional help.
- Feelings of numbness, disbelief, heightened anxiety, irrational fear
- Marked changes in appetite, energy, and activity levels
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, nightmares, or disturbing thoughts and images
- Emergence of physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach discomfort, body pains, or skin rashes
- Increased irritability and anger
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs