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HEALTHY LIVING: Make emotional health a priority during these trying times

By Rebecca Colasanto, LCSW

March 31, 2020

During times of increased stress, we have to consider our emotional immune system. Our emotions play a significant role in how our body responds to stressful situations. To care for our family members and all those in our lives, we have to take care of ourselves as well. This includes:

Limiting your media or news time. News specific to COVID-19 is anxiety provoking and at times skewed. Many people report during times like these, even just three to five minutes of the news can increase heart rate and other symptoms of anxiety. Remember to use the CDC as a reference point and place to fact check.

Limiting your social media time. Even if your social media is filled with healthy distraction, it is still an activity that is not very soothing during times of stress. It is often interrupted with stories that can be catastrophic to our current situation or minimizing/criticizing the work we are doing.

Creating a new schedule if your typical schedule has been interrupted. For many of us our usual non-work activities have been suspended. Now more than ever, each of us can create a schedule of what we can do when we are not at work to re-energize while still honoring social distancing.

Finding activities that bring you joy, hope, and strength. Challenge yourself to keep a journal of these activities. Hold yourself accountable for self-care. Stay in touch with your family and friends, social distancing does not mean social isolation.

Purposeful movement and exercise is an additional stress relieving activity. If you are in the habit of going to the gym there are creative ways to make sure you stay physically active. This can be walking or running in nature, working out at home, or trying Yoga or workout apps that guide you through exercises that don’t require equipment.

As the community fights to respond to the current COVID 19 crisis, there are health care professionals who are here for you. Isolation, financial stress, medical issues and job insecurity are just a few of the things that can lead to increased depression, self-doubt, substance misuse and an overall desperation to take control in whatever way possible.

When feeling this way know that you are not alone w- that this is temporary and that we will all get through this.

One of the amazing aspects of this crisis are all of the online and audio resources that have come to light. A few of these key resources are:

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK

Crisis Text Line: 741741

United Way Info Line/ Crisis Line in Connecticut: 211

Never Use Alone: 800-484-3731 http://neverusealone.com/

Online Meetings:     https://www.12step.org/social/online-meetings/

https://www.na.org/