The world has been shaken and ravaged by an unknown disease, later known as COVID-19 late November 2019/early December. Thousands and thousands of people started to die and change the lives of millions forever. The virus spread rapidly, infecting villages, towns, cities, and entire nations. This disease has caused the death of millions, death of family members, friends, and loved ones. Every day it seems to get worse each time that new reports of daily Coronavirus cases are available. Every day, it can come to a point where you believe that this will never end, and it will continue for a long time, and it just seems overwhelming to hear all of this as it all goes to your head, making you stressed and have anxiety. Covid-19 has taken its toll on the lives of millions of humans physically and mentally. Being able to cope with this amount of stress and anxiety is the best measure for our health during the pandemic, as it will stick with us for a long time to come.
After taking a look at an article from the CDC, healthily coping with your stress will make you destress, make yourself feel better about yourself and, make you feel less anxious about the pandemic. According to the CDC, Mental Health “is an important part of overall health and wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It may also affect how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices during an emergency”. Mental health is responsible for our everyday actions, so it is important to keep good mental health. For me, it was difficult transitioning from everyday, normal life to a sudden, rapid change in lifestyle where I was limited in what I could do. Schools were canceling and moving to online learning, mandatory quarantines were happening all over the world. Everything changed since that moment in March when it was first announced. It was a false understanding that we would go back to a normal way of life a couple of weeks after the diocese of Salt Lake sent out a statement that school would be canceled for a little while. Then everything came tumbling down every day, as cases started to rise, and the risk level became higher. It was a devastating time for not just myself, but for many other people. It was difficult adapting to this new lifestyle, and I would imagine it was the same for other people. To be able to manage this stress, keeping your health in check is very important since this is going to be in our lives for a long way to go.
Taking a look back to the previous article from the CDC, some simple ways to cope with stress would include taking care of your emotional health, taking breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, taking care of your body, and connecting with others. Being able to take care of your emotional health will help you think clearly and react to urgent needs and to protect your family. Taking breaks from the media can improve your mental state because repeated information about the pandemic can be upsetting and depriving to most people. Several measures to take care of your body would include: Taking deep breaths, stretching, meditation, eating healthy, exercise regularly, getting plenty of sleep, and avoiding alcohol and drug use. Lastly, connecting with others and talking to people you trust about your feelings and concerns can help you unwind and destress from anxiety and stress.
There are similar ways to cope with this sense of uncertainty. According to this article from Psychology Today, there are more ways to consider these coping mechanisms from different perspectives. To be able to start to cope with this stress, you first have to feel your feet on the ground. As anxiety overwhelms you, it can feel like you are floating outside your body, feel lightheaded and dizzy. These responses that we have come from our Sympathetic nervous system, so being able to put your feet on the ground, back straight on your chair, and breathing in and out will slowly shift your stress response to a relaxed sensation. You are partaking in a session of mindfulness which helps your stress response and your mental state significantly. Another way to look at your coping mechanisms is to focus on what has not changed. Everything may seem that it has changed, but focusing on what hasn’t changed can make you see things differently. Ask yourself, what has not changed? Some example questions from the article would include “Are your plants still growing and need water? Are you still brushing your teeth? Are you still getting weather updates on your phone? Focusing on what hasn’t changed in your life will make you have a better mindset rather than focusing on what is different and complaining. It was difficult for me to do this step, but over time with practice, I was able to see this pandemic from a different perspective. Hopefully, you can do so as well.Tags: Covid 19 Judge Memorial Catholic High School mental health physical health stress