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Tips to Minimize Coronavirus' Effect on Your Mental Health

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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought uncertainty, altered daily routines, financial pressures and social isolation.

You may be experiencing stress, anxiety, fear, sadness and loneliness. Anxiety or depression can worsen with increased worries about getting sick, how long the pandemic will last and what the future will bring. Practicing self-care is good for your mental and physical health and can help you take charge of your life.

Here are tips you can use to take care of your body and mind:  

Stick to Your Routines

When it comes to sleep, exercise and diet, consistency is important and the lack of sleep and exercise along with increased junk food or caffeine can contribute to more stress and anxiety.

Limit Screen Time

Don’t start spending more time in front of a screen -- television, tablet, computer or phone -- because you are home more. Avoid screen time 30 minutes before bedtime.

Relax & Recharge

Even a few minutes of quiet time can be refreshing and reduce anxiety. Try deep breathing, yoga or meditation. Soak in the bath tub, listen to music or read a book — whatever helps you relax.

Limit Exposure to News Media 

Constant news about COVID-19 from all types of media can heighten fears and social media chatter may expose you to rumors and false information. Look for reliable sources such as the CDC and limit how much you watch the news and social media group conversations.

Engage in Activities You Enjoy 

A distraction can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression. Enjoy hobbies, identify a new project or clean out that closet you promised you’d get to.

Focus on Positive Thoughts

Choose to focus on the positive things in your life, instead of dwelling on how bad you feel.

Make Connections 

If you need to stay at home and distance yourself from others, avoid social isolation. Find time each day to make virtual connections by email, texts, phone or video calls. Schedule a virtual lunch with a friend or co-worker and most of all spend more quality time with those in your home. 

Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the demands of life. Everyone reacts differently to difficult situations, and it’s normal to feel stress and worry during a crisis. But multiple challenges daily, such as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, can push you beyond your ability to cope.

Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling helpless, sad, angry, irritable, hopeless, anxious or afraid. You may have trouble concentrating on typical tasks, changes in appetite, body aches and pains, or difficulty sleeping, or you may struggle to face routine chores.

When these signs and symptoms last for several days in a row, make you miserable and cause problems in your daily life so that you find it hard to carry out normal responsibilities, it’s time to ask for help. Samaritan Health Services is here to support your health and well-being with in-person and telehealth appointments, including mental health services. Call your health care provider or Samaritan’s Find-A-Doctor Line at 800-863-5241.