We are in the midst of a pandemic and there is no doubt COVID-19 has everyone on edge and fearful for themselves and their loved ones. Economic worries, health concerns, and not knowing when it will end can all add up to emotional distress. Mental health and COVID-19 can be as problematic as the disease itself.
Those Most At Risk For Mental Health Issues
Who suffers the most during this quarantine and pandemic? Some are more at risk than others, of course, but everyone is affected in some way.
Any senior with other chronic diseases is more vulnerable to the virus, so they naturally are frightened. When you add in the isolation of a quarantine, they can become more distressed and lonely.
Children And Teens
Younger children don’t understand why things have changed so much, why they can’t go to school, see their friends, or why mom and dad are so uptight. Teens can become resentful of their lost freedom and act out.
Front Line Workers
Those on the front lines fighting against the disease are under severe emotional stress. Nurses, doctors, all first responders and health care workers bear the brunt of the virus.
Those With Existing Mental Health Issues
These extremely vulnerable people with mental health issues like depression, anxiety, anger issues, and substance abuse can become overwrought and fail to take their medications. The isolation can lead to an exacerbation of depression causing an increase in suicide or domestic violence.
Where Do You Fit In?
Maybe you are one of these most vulnerable. Or maybe you fit into several categories like being a parent and a health care worker with a senior parent. What do you need to do to “keep it together.” You can cope and overcome your own fear and anxiety and help your loved ones cope too using some of the following guidelines or recommendations.
- Take a break from the nonstop news.
- Know the facts about COVID-19. Information is power. Avoid internet rumors and only follow reliable sources for your information. If you remain calm and informed, your children and loved ones will react similarly. Use this reliable source.
- Prepare healthy meals using whole foods like fruits and vegetables knowing you are counteracting the threat by taking some control and improving your immunity.
- Find ways to get some exercise whenever possible. If you must stay home and cannot work, engage in activities you enjoy. Do some gardening, catch up on reading or hobbies.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Use technology to stay in touch with loved ones and friends with FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype. This can ease the loneliness of everyone.
- Explain to your children what’s happening and why we must stay at home and avoid being together for now. Reassure them it will pass, and it will not last forever.
Yes, our daily lives have been disrupted and turned upside down, but we, and you, can get through this. Watch for signs of extreme distress in yourself and others, and don’t wait to get help. Call Davidson Family Medicine with any signs of extreme distress in yourself or a member of your family.
As always, if you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (704) 892-5454 or request an appointment online today!