How to Take Care of Your Emotional Health in a Crisis

It is normal to experience stress, anxiety and worry amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It is imperative that families pay attention to the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and practice social distancing and regular hand washing/sanitizing. However, it is also important that they take care of their emotional and mental health. Practicing self-care during this time is essential.

The CDC has provided the following steps to cope with a disaster:

  • Take care of your body: Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Educate yourself on wellness for mental health.
  • Connect with others: Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships, and build a strong support system.
  • Take breaks: Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Try taking deep, calming breaths. Try to do activities you usually enjoy.
  • Stay informed: When you feel you are missing information, you may become more stressed or nervous. Watch, listen to or read the news for updates from officials. Be aware that there may be rumors during a crisis, especially on social media. Always check your sources and turn to reliable sources of information like your local government authorities.
  • Avoid too much exposure to the news: It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories. Try to do enjoyable activities and return to normal life as much as possible, and check for updates between breaks.
  • Seek help when needed: If distress impacts activities of your daily life for several days or weeks, talk to a clergy member, counselor or doctor, or contact the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-985-5990.

The CDC also advises the public to pay attention to these signs of distress:

  • Feelings of numbness, disbelief, anxiety or fear.
  • Changes in appetite, energy and activity levels.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Difficulty sleeping or nightmares and upsetting thoughts and images.
  • Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems and skin rashes.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems.
  • Anger or short temper.
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.

On behalf of the entire ASCI family, we wish everyone in our communities safety, health and wellness during this difficult time.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of A Second Chance, Inc.

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