Four ways to cope with stress during COVID-19
By Heidi Pritzl
Many people are feeling emotional distress related to COVID-19, which is why it’s important to be aware of mental health and try to focus on self-care.
Here are four ways you can manage stress from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and experts at Ascension Koller Behavioral Health:
• Set a limit on media consumption, including social media, local or national news.
• Stay active. Make sure to get enough sleep and rest. Stay hydrated and avoid excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol. Eat healthy foods when possible.
• Connect with loved ones and others who may be experiencing stress about the outbreak. Talk about your feelings and enjoy conversation unrelated to the outbreak.
• Get accurate health information from reputable sources. For health information about COVID-19, please contact the Centers for Disease Control at cdc.gov, The Ascension COVID-19 online information center at healthcare.ascension.org/COVID-19, or use your local 211 services.
It is important to take care of your mental health as much as you take care of your physical health. These are anxious times.
Our Ascension Koller Behavioral Health team can be here to help. You do not have to go through this alone. If you need immediate assistance please contact the local Tri-County crisis number at 1-888-299-1188 or the National crisis number 1-800-273-8255.
There are free, confidential, virtual options available. We encourage you to visit www.crisistextline.org or text them 24-hours a day at 741741. You may also find them on Facebook. Please contact our office at 715-361-2805 for more information on virtual options during this time of social distancing.
Here is a simple exercise that you can use in your home with family or friends:
Take just a moment. Focus on your breath. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. As worries come into your mind go back to your breath-focusing only on your breath. On your next exhale, exhale as if you are blowing bubbles or trying to blow up a balloon.
Heidi Pritzl, LCSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with Ascension Koller Behavioral Health.