As the spread of COVID-19 continues to impact many individuals and families, we want to help. We compiled these ideas to help those who are looking for emotional relief resources and strategies. (Adapted from NorthPoint Ministries)
MANAGING ANXIETY AND STRESS
If you are experiencing high levels of anxiety during these uncertain times, that is normal. Your body sends you information to alert you whenever it senses a threat. Know that you are processing your anxiety in healthy ways when you’re able to stay relaxed and make rational decisions without feeling overwhelmed or withdrawing. Anxiety can push us to take care of ourselves, but too much anxiety can become problematic. Below are some resources to help you manage your anxiety and stress levels. We’ve also included some information about how to determine when it might be time to ask a counselor or pastor for help.
HEALTHY TIPS TO HELP YOU COPE DURING THE PANDEMIC
Create a routine. Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. If you’re working from home, establish a start time and an end time. This can help create a sense of normalcy and predictability.
Stay connected to others. Use technology to stay connected to friends, family, and co-workers by calling, texting, emailing, and videoing with one another. Connect with people who will be present, compassionate, and good listeners.
Stay connected to your community. Actively seek ways to stay plugged in. Use technology to watch church services online. Support local businesses by buying gift cards for a later date or buying lunch for those on the front lines. Volunteer your time to help your local schools or nonprofits distribute food and essentials to your community.
Take care of your body. Do things that help you feel better and relieve stress. Eat healthy foods, get plenty of rest, practice stretching and breathing exercises, and move your body daily (e.g., yoga, walking, dancing).
Access reliable media resources in small doses. Stay informed, but limit the amount of time you check the news to once or twice a day to prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed.
Limit addictive behaviors. Distracting yourself and finding ways to seek relief from what’s going on around you is normal. However, pay attention to how much time you’re spending on television and social media. Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake.
WHEN IS IT TIME TO ASK FOR HELP?
Often we are able to navigate life’s challenges by ourselves or with help from family and friends. However, there are times when we need to get help from a doctor or counselor. Here are a few indicators that it might be time to seek professional help:
- The struggle is preventing you from functioning in a healthy way or is significantly impacting your quality of life.
- It’s difficult to resolve an issue through your own ways of coping.
- Your current coping mechanisms (e.g., overuse of alcohol or drugs) are potentially destructive.
- You are overwhelmed to the point where negative emotions are dominating the way you feel.
- You are feeling hopeless and/or losing interest in things that used to bring you joy.
- Negative thoughts are preventing you from thinking clearly and making healthy decisions.
- You’re experiencing heightened social conflict or a desire for increased social withdrawal that is difficult to control.
Note that thoughts of self-harm or the desire to harm others require immediate attention, including telling family and friends that care about you and contacting a suicide prevention center and/or other resources listed below.
If you decide to talk with a counselor, we’ve created a simple way for you to receive a counseling referral. We’ve helped thousands of people connect with vetted, licensed professionals. Many of these counselors are able to meet with you virtually. Use our search to find a counselor on our list with expertise that matches your situation. Find a Counselor.
For those of you with existing emotional health conditions: Please be aware of your symptoms, and keep in touch with your mental health professionals to stay on track.
RESOURCES BY TOPIC
- 5 Ways to Manage COVID-19 Anxiety
- Two Types of Anxiety and How to Respond
- Identifying and Coping with Anxiety
- Anxiety Questionnaire from Anxiety and Depression Association of America
- How to Tell If You're Depressed
- Depression and Suicide Panel
- The Depression Test and Bipolar Test
- Depression Questionnaire from Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Domestic Violence Hotline
- National Domestic Violence Hotline or 1-800-799-7233
Kids and Parenting
Stress and Healthy Coping
- Suicide Prevention Hotline or 1-800-273-8255
- Crisis Text Line or text HOME to 741741
- Maryland Help Line: Call 211 and select option 1; or text your ZIP code to 898-211; or visit 211MD.org