In a split second it seems that COVID-19 changed all our lives.
Camp was at the peak in our history—we had the most campers registered and we had just received a verbal commitment for a $500,000 gift toward building a gymnasium. It was the best of times!
And in just that split second, it became the worst of times.
Pandemics are stressful. Fear of a novel or new virus can cause overwhelming anxiety along with other strong emotions. Add to it the isolation required to stop the spread of the illness and mental health is at risk.
Concern over your own health and the health of your loved ones can become all consuming. Eating patterns change. Activities are curbed. Difficulties in sleep emerge. As the pandemic draws out disruption in concentration occurs as focus shifts to jobs and financial challenges. Tempers flare. The crisis amplifies all previous life problems and many people will self-medicate using food, tobacco, alcohol or drugs in an attempt to numb the pain.
People respond differently to stress depending on prior experiences, background, financial situation, social support, community involvement and health. We are connected to others as human beings so how each of us responds affects those around us too.
The best ways to cope with Covid stress and avoid choas is to:
- Research the “facts”. It has been stressful for everyone as the guidelines change but that is the problem with a novel or new virus. We must be cautious and be willing to change as we learn more.
- Know how to take care of yourself or your loved ones if sick.
- Know how and where to seek help if needed.
- Take care of your emotional health and give yourself credit for surviving in difficult times. No one is perfect so lower your expectations and give that grace to others.
- Recognize that this is one huge storm and we are all in different boats experiencing calm waters and turbulent waters. It depends on the boat as to what the experience is at any given moment. We find strength in reaching out to others and drawing them close stabilizing BOTH boats.
- Turn off the news! You need a break! Vow to only watch or listen ONCE A DAY.
- Spend some time doing things that you enjoy—garden, read, listen to music, exercise, etc
- Try yoga, meditation or simply stretch and breathe.
- Pay attention to the food you are eating. Avoid junk food. In a pandemic you need to be in the best shape of your life so fuel your immune system with veggies (especially the green ones), fruits, beans and whole grains.
- Exercise daily as your body needs to be fit to fight the virus.
- Connect with others daily.
- Forgive yourself in the moment.
- Keep your faith.
This, too, shall pass.