In a typical year, our long, cold winter can be very stressful. For many people, the loss of sunshine, reduced exercise, and decreased number of social events can lead to increased anxiety.
With the rising COVID-19 numbers and increased government restrictions, this winter is going to be even harder than a typical year. We encourage you to take time to focus on your mental health and see what you can do to help others get through this difficult time.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests the following steps:
- Take care of your body. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
- Connect with others. Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships, and build a strong support system.
- Take breaks. Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Try taking in deep breaths. Try to do activities you usually enjoy.
- Stay informed. When you feel that you are missing information, you may become more stressed or nervous. Watch, listen to, or read the news for updates from officials. Be aware that there may be rumors during a crisis, especially on social media. Always check your sources, and turn to reliable sources of information like your local government authorities.
- Avoid too much exposure to news. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do enjoyable activities and return to normal life as much as possible, and check for updates between breaks.
- Seek help when needed. If distress impacts activities of your daily life for several days or weeks, talk to a clergy member, counselor, or doctor. You may also contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1.800.985.5990.