COVID-19, along with many other concerns, have caused both children and adults to experience a record level of stress. While anxiety, fear, sadness and exhaustion are common emotional responses when living through a major threat or trauma, mental health issues should never be taken lightly.
Prolonged stress affects all systems of the body, and can negatively affect your physical and mental health. It is also associated with unhealthy lifestyle changes, such as unwanted weight gain and increased alcohol consumption.
Too often, mental health issues like anxiety and depression go untreated, and those who struggle with these conditions are left feeling unsupported. This means it is vitally important to help friends, loved ones and co-workers receive the emotional support and behavioral health services they need to live a healthier, happier life.
It is also a priority to protect your own mental and physical well-being while returning to the activities of daily life. To help cope with added stress, keep up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 prevention guidance and allow yourself to take things at your own pace. While others may feel differently about masking/non-masking or potential exposure to the virus, it is best to do what personally makes you feel most comfortable.
For example, if you have not dined in a restaurant for a long while, you might start by enjoying a meal at an outdoor public place. If you feel anxious about returning to the office, you may wish to meet with a colleague for coffee first.
Other strategies to reduce stress include engaging in regular physical exercise and getting an adequate amount of sleep each night. Remember, it is okay to acknowledge the uncertainty that exists in the post-COVID world, and to seek the support of family and friends.
Finally, it may be helpful to see a mental health professional who can help identify the stressors that affect your daily life and ways to improve your overall wellbeing. To request an appointment at SFCHC, please call (818) 963-5690 or visit sfchealthcenter.org.