At a time like this, it is normal for stress levels to be heightened and for you to feel “off” more often than you feel “normal.” Your feelings are completely validated and while they are okay to have, for most of us, it doesn’t feel very good.
The Ohio Department of Health has put forth some valuable information and resources for identifying your stress, managing it, and for helping manage the stress of a loved one you’re caring for.
Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones.
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns.
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
- Worsening of chronic health problems.
- Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes.
- Anger or short temper.
Things you can do to support yourself
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
If you are taking care of an older adult:
- Make sure your loved one’s nutrition intake is monitored.
- Provide consistent predictable patterns and schedules.
- Stay engaged with communication.
- Personal care is important (clean clothes, bathing).
- Attempt to lower emotions to reduce stress.
- Understand that this change impacts a wide range of human experience that includes physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual well-being.
Resources for additional assistance:
- Throughout Ohio, you can text the keyword “4hope” to 741 741 to be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor. Data usage while texting Crisis Text Line is free, and the number will not appear on a phone bill with the mobile service carrier. People of all ages can use Crisis Text Line.
- The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Director, Lori Criss, offers information on how to manage Coronavirus related stress. Click the link below to watch.
- The Disaster Distress Helpline is available 24 hours a way, 7 days a week, year-round.
- Call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs”to 66746, Spanish-speakers, text “Hablanos” to 66746.
By identifying your own stress and the stress of those you care for, you can work towards managing it and living a happier and healthier life, especially now, when it is needed the most.