Self-Care in Times of Stress

20 Apr 2020, by Sara Westbrook Share :

We are living in a strange, historic time where are expected to cope with many different changes and challenges at the same time. County officials are on the front lines trying to provide the support and resources needed to fight this pandemic while also dealing with the stress of continuing to fund mandated services, provide secure elections, and so much more. This can seem overwhelming for the best of us no matter what status our mental health may have been in prior to the pandemic. With that in mind, here are some tips for dealing with stress and other mental health difficulties during this extraordinary time.

The World Health Organization (WHO) provided the following tips regarding how to deal with stress.

1. It is normal to feel stressed, sad, confused, scared, or angry during a crisis. Talking to people you trust can help. Reach out to your friends and family.

2. If you must stay at home, maintain a healthy lifestyle – including proper diet, sleep, exercise, and social contacts with loved ones at home, by email, phone, Zoom, and more.

3. Don’t use smoking, alcohol, or other drugs to deal with your emotions. If you feel overwhelmed, talk to a health worker or counselor. Have a plan of where to go and how to seek help for physical and mental health needs if required.

4. Get the facts. Gather information that will help you accurately determine your risk so that you can take reasonable precautions. Find a credible source you can trust such as the WHO website or a local or state public health agency.

5. Limit worry and agitation by lessening the time you and your family spend watching or listening to media coverage that you perceive as upsetting.

6. Draw on skills you have used in the past that have helped you to manage previous life’s adversities and use those skills to help you manage your emotions during this challenging time.

It is also important to remember that everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Find ways to wind down that are beneficial to you. You could create a menu of personal self-care activities that you enjoy. Use practical ways to relax. Here are some free resources that you can use to aid in self-care and also share with others in your workforce, community, and/or family who may be struggling.

Free Mindfulness Apps: 

CDC Information – Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19 
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html

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