MANAGING ANXIETY AND STRESS
If you are experiencing high levels of anxiety during these uncertain times, that is normal. Your body sends you information to alert you whenever it senses a threat. Know that you are processing your anxiety in healthy ways when you’re able to stay relaxed and make rational decisions without feeling overwhelmed or withdrawing. Anxiety can push us to take care of ourselves, but too much anxiety can become problematic. Below are some resources to help you manage your anxiety and stress levels. We’ve also included some information about how to determine when it might be time to ask a counselor or pastor for help.
SEVEN HEALTHY TIPS TO HELP
YOU COPE DURING THE PANDEMIC
Create a routine. Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. If you’re working from home, establish a start time and an end time. This can help create a sense of normalcy and predictability.
Stay connected to others. Use technology to stay connected to friends, family, and co-workers by calling, texting, emailing, and videoing with one another. Connect with people who will be present, compassionate, and good listeners.
Stay connected to your community. Actively seek ways to stay plugged into your church and community. Watch your church service at the appointed time on Sunday. This can help create a routine and a sense of being a part of something with others who are doing the same. Support local businesses by buying gift cards for a later date or buying lunch for those on the front lines. Volunteer your time as you are able and if it is safe to help your local organizations distribute food and essentials to your community.
Find coping mechanisms to move from anxiety to peace. Find the things that help calm your fears and relieve your anxiety. Music, meditation, prayer, or a long talk with a trusted friend. Find the things that ground you and help move you from anxiety to peace. No one action or person will fix or change everything. Creating a list of safe people, places, and activities that can each help calm your anxieties is key during this time.
Take care of your body. Stay active, it is more important now than ever. Eat healthy foods, get plenty of rest, and practice stretching. Do some form of exercise every day as your ability and fitness level allows. A walk, a run, a bike ride, or playing with your children outside can make a huge difference.
Access reliable media resources in small doses. Stay informed, but limit the amount of time you check the news to once or twice a day to prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed.
Limit addictive behaviors. Distracting yourself and finding ways to seek relief from what’s going on around you is normal. However, pay attention to how much time you’re spending on television and social media. Pay attention to addictive behaviors, especially those you are susceptible to.
WHEN IS IT TIME TO ASK FOR HELP
Often we are able to navigate life’s challenges by ourselves or with help from family and friends. However, there are times when we need to get help from a doctor or counselor. Here are a few indicators that it might be time to seek professional help:
Struggle is preventing you from functioning in a healthy way or is significantly impacting your quality of life.
It’s difficult to resolve an issue through your own ways of coping.
Your current coping mechanisms (e.g., overuse of alcohol or drugs) are potentially destructive.
You are overwhelmed to the point where negative emotions are dominating the way you feel.
You are feeling hopeless and/or losing interest in things that used to bring you joy.
Negative thoughts are preventing you from thinking clearly and making healthy decisions.
You’re experiencing heightened social conflict or a desire for increased social withdrawal that is difficult to control.
Note that thoughts of self-harm or the desire to harm others require immediate attention, including telling family and friends that care about you and contact a suicide prevention center and/or other resources listed below. If you feel like you are in immediate danger or are a danger to others, go to a behavioral health hospital for an assessment, or seek medical attention by dialing 911.
If you decide to talk with a counselor, we’ve created a simple way for you to receive a counseling referral. We can help you get connected with vetted, licensed professionals, and trained Life Coaches. Many of these counselors are able to meet with you virtually.
For those of you with existing emotional health conditions: Please be aware of your symptoms, and keep in touch with your mental health professionals to stay on track.