By Capt. Jessica Hague, 6th Medical Operations Squadron, Mental Health Clinic licensed psychologist
/ Published May 05, 2020
The U.S. Air Force provides resources to those in need through a variety of Helping Agencies. (U.S. Air Force Courtesy graphic.)
The novel coronavirus is creating stress and disruption in many lives through worries about health, changes in work, guidance for social distancing and lack of childcare. These stressors have the possibility to wreak havoc on one’s mental health.
Luckily, there are many healthy ways to successfully cope with these challenges and increase resiliency at the same time.
Routines are part of daily life and are actually beneficial in creating normalcy. Unfortunately, with stay-at-home orders given for much of the population and children out of school, the natural structure provided by school and work goes out the window.
Did you know that healthy sleep can increase physical and emotional resiliency? Sticking to regular sleep and wake times will help with getting consistent sleep for when operations return to normal.
Maintaining a healthy diet is also important to properly fuel your body and the foods you eat can impact your mood. Create daily routines for eating, sleeping, exercising, playing, working, learning and interacting with others.
There are many strategies to help manage worries that the consequences of COVID-19 can create.
Limit your exposure to the media to 10-15 minutes per day and only use trustworthy sources to get information, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).
Instead of thinking about worst-case scenarios, focus on things within your control. Stay connected and gain support from loved ones through texts, calls and video chats.
Making time for self-care is important and this can be achieved through engaging in activities you enjoy, trying a new hobby, or keeping a gratitude journal. There are many phone applications that provide relaxation exercises, such as breathing, mindfulness and muscle relaxation. Make sure to avoid unhealthy forms of coping, such as alcohol and drugs.