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During COVID-19 pandemic, taking care of your mental health is essential

AIESHA BANKS • Apr 16, 2020 at 10:15 PM

Do you have fear and worry about your health and the health of your loved ones? Changes in sleep or eating patterns? Difficulty concentrating or completing tasks? Becoming easily irritable or stressed? Does this sound familiar the past couple of weeks?

An outbreak of COVID-19 may be worrisome for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Social distancing makes it even more challenging to be able to relieve some of that stress.

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.

Being mindful about your mental health is essential. Getting a grasp on that anxiety feeling and pushing forward is the key. Recognizing what’s typical and what’s not may help to ease that feeling.

Take care of your mind and understand stress triggers.

Focus on positive thoughts and make the choice to be positive. Consider starting your day by listing what you are thankful for. If you draw strength from a belief system, and it brings you comfort during difficult times, use your moral compass or spiritual life for support.

Stay busy. Being distracted can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts. Enjoy hobbies that you can do at home. Healthy Kingsport’s Facebook page has lots of ideas that bring you new hobbies or support the old hobbies you may already have.

Keeping your routine is important to your mental health. Bedtimes, keeping consistent times with meals, getting dressed, work, or study schedules and exercise will keep you grounded.

Set priorities. Don’t be overwhelmed by creating a life-changing list of things to do while staying at home. Set achievable goals each day and outline steps to those goals.

Slow down. Stop for a second. Take a breath. Clear your mind. Think of something positive. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Social connections are essential to our mental well-being. Although we can’t be sociable in person, we can find ways to stay connected virtually. Check in periodically with your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers. Send a text, make a phone call, plan a video chat, write a letter or even post signs in your yard or windows to let them know you’re thinking about them.

Keeping our readers mentally active is our goal! Healthy Kingsport’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts will be ramping up the effort to help people who are staying at home. Our social media platforms will also educate you to stay active, be engaged and eat well.

Healthy Kingsport is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a community that actively embraces healthy living by promoting wellness, enhancing infrastructure, and influencing policy.

Aiesha Banks is the executive director of Healthy Kingsport. She can be reached at abanks@healthykingsport.org.

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