Pandemics are hard on the healthcare world and on humans in general. Along with the constant fear of getting sick or even dying, drastic changes to a person’s routine can increase stress levels. Pandemic stress due to COVID-19 has increased the level of fear and anxiety in the general public to levels that have not been seen in generations.
Pandemic Stress & Mental Health
Anytime there are such strong and overwhelming emotions to contend with, there will also be mental health consequences.
Stress and Isolation
Children and adults alike can start to feel isolated due to the restrictions on public gatherings and even travel. Social distancing, a change in routine, and even the inability to do something as simple as a walk through the park can create confusion, anger, and other overwhelming feelings. Humans need interaction, without it, loneliness and isolation can lead to anxiety, depression, increased stress, and other mental health issues. Though these measures are in please to help with public safety, it is important not to forget the impact that pandemic has on mental health.
Side Effects Pandemic Stress
Stress during the pandemic can manifest in a myriad of ways. Worry or fear about the health of the safety of your family members and friends is very common. Of course, it is also normal to worry about job security, finances, and other supplementary services. These concerns can lead to some of the following side effects as the pandemic wears on:
- Trouble sleeping
- Changes in eating habits
- The inability to concentrate
- Increased health problems
- The onset or worsening of mental health problems
- Increased smoking and drinking
- New drinking or smoking habits
- Chronic health issues getting worse
- And more
Varied Responses To Pandemic Stress
Living in the time of the coronavirus pandemic is difficult. Each person will manage the stress of the pandemic in different ways. The difference in response depends on a variety of factors. These are generally the amount of social support you have, your background, the level of financial stability, and your starting level of mental health. Past or current issues with addiction will also play a big role in how a person is able to cope with the ongoing stress of the pandemic. Communities also play a big role in the ability of a person or family to reduce the stress that comes with an extended pandemic.
Those who are more prone to strong reactions are those that are at a higher risk of contracting the virus. Older people, those with underlying health conditions, and also healthcare workers. The higher the chance of contracting the virus, or of having a negative outcome if infected, the higher the stress and anxiety levels will be. Children and adolescents are also very sensitive to the changes that have come with living in the time of a pandemic. Disabled citizens, those who live in rural areas and people dependent on the service of others to survive also face a higher level of stress than most.
How To Manage Stress & Mental Health During The Pandemic
There are many healthy ways to cope with the stress of living through the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are ever feeling like you are on the brink of suicide, seek help from the suicide hotline, 911, or anyone in your local vicinity.
It is important to take care of your emotional and mental health in addition to caring for your physical needs. Keeping your emotions balanced will give you the tools you need to think and react in a calm and collected fashion. This is very important as it will allow you to protect your family and yourself in the coming days.
Watching the news is a great way to get up to date information. However, it is important to take a break from the constant feed of negative information. Listening to repeated negativity can place a toll on both your emotional well-being and your overall mental health. Instead, dedicate time away from media to spend on yourself or with your family. Play board games, cook interesting meals, workout, or just spend time enjoying your favorite hobby. Connecting with family and friends via Skype or Zoom will also help you banish loneliness and maintain a sense of community connection.
SAGE Counseling Omaha
At SAGE Counseling Omaha, our primary focus is on helping you to get the support and treatment that you need as you move forward. We all experience challenges that are often too difficult to work through on their own, and we are here to support you during these tough times.
When you connect with our compassionate counseling team, you can rest assured that you will receive the individualized care that you need. Contact us today. For approved clients, we are able to utilize telehealth services through our HIPAA compliant virtual software.