The Stress Is Too Much
These are some tips to maintain your mental health during this time heightened stress and isolation:
Stay connected to your social circle: social distancing does not mean social disconnection. Try to connect with at least one person a day over the telephone, face time, or another form of video chat. This is particularly important for those who live alone.
Try to limit your media exposure on COVID-19 to what is necessary. Be informed and learn the facts from a trusted source.
Set a schedule: if you are working from home, or have been laid off, try to maintain a daily routine. Wake up, get dressed for the day and have some “normalcy” rather than laying in your pyjamas all day every day.
Seek Support: If you are having a difficult time, do not wait until you are in crisis to seek help. Everyone responds to stress differently and it can have both a psychological and physical effect on us. With the risk of illness due to a pandemic, everyone’s fears tend to be heightened, and even those who have never struggled with excessive worry or anxiety may find themselves struggling.
When Is Psychological Distress Too Much?
So what if you are doing all of those things and it doesn't seem like enough? The following is a list of signs indicating that it may be beneficial to speak to a professional:
Avoiding others (even within what is allowed with social distancing)
Sleeping poorly (too much, too little or having nightmares)
Experiencing headaches, neck or back pain or stomach problems
Feeling anxious, depressed or having panic attacks
Feeling angry, guilty, helpless, numb
Not wanting to get out of bed
Thinking about COVID-19 excessively
Only watching television related to COVID-19 (or pandemics)
Increase in alcohol consumption or taking more prescription drugs
If you experience several of these symptoms and they interfere with your ability to carry out daily tasks, please consult a psychotherapist, your family physician or another mental health professional.
I also hear from many people that they aren't sure what is wrong. They don't think they are anxious about COVID-19 but they feel "off." I am going to make a mass generalization and say it is anxiety. It is a product of the environment we are living in. It is a result of COVID-19. It is your unconscious fears, if not of the illness itself, of the repercussions it may have on the economy, your finances, the people you love. There is no way to not be affected by what is happening.
Be proactive about your well-being. You do not need to be in crisis to speak to a mental health professional. If you have any questions or concerns, click here to book a free 15-minute consultation.