Managing Stress in the COVID Era

stress covidYour stress levels have never been higher. No matter who you are, your world has likely been turned upsidedown by COVID. How you feel about this virus is only a part of the overall stress it can bring to your life. Whether we acknowledge the virus’s impact or not, it will still stress you out.

COVID and Job Loss
The number one stress for most people in the U.S. is the fear of losing their job, or having lost a job due to your place of work being closed…temporarily or otherwise. This is one of the top stressors and causes of mental health issues…adjustment disorders or decompensation for those with existing mental health conditions. The key to lowering stress over this issue is action. Actions you take if you lose your job:
1. Call your support network, friends, family, mentors, colleagues, past workers and let them know the situation. you need all the support you can get.
2. If you have a counselor or therapist, consider going to weekly visits until you are stable and feel better.
3. Give yourself good self-care and self-compassion. You did not do anything to deserve this outcome. You can only control so much.
4. Apply for unemplyment, then start looking for new work. Try networking with friends, then use sites like Indeed.

COVID and Family or Friends Getting Sick
This is probably higher than job loss, though at this time less common. It is important to remember, that if you are not careful, your actions affect others. If you get exposed, you then expose your family, friends, and coworkers. If a family member gets sick in your house, you will need to isolate that person. If you are the caregiver, your stress is multiplied. You will have to care for that person, but exercise the greatest caution, cleanliness skills, and care you can. Actions to take:
1. Reach out in a safe way (phone, text, email) to friends and family for support. Don’t be afraid to tell people what is going on. You need support and isolation is a major issue whether you are the caregiver or the one sick.
2. Work on self-care, meditation, prayer, and resources to keep you in the moment (breathing exercises, grounding exercises). Try not to think from a place of fear.
3. If you or a loved one experiences difficulty breathing or a fever, immediately consult a doctor, or if breathing difficult go to the ER. One of the best ways to monitor yourself is to get a Pulse Oximeter, which tells you your oxygen concentration. You can find one here:
Pulse Oximeter on Amazon

These are just a few tips, but the main thing is you have to take good care of yourself BEFORE you can be a good help or resource to others. Stay safe!

Other good resources:
Music to Calm Yourself

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