Taking care of our mental health during the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic is everywhere we look. It has affected all aspects of our lives, including how we take care of others in our lives. Whether you are a caregiver for a spouse, an adult child with a disability or even a parent juggling aging parents, home schooling and work… COVID-19 has created even more challenges. Although we hear information daily about how to take care of our physical health to ward off the virus, it’s important to remember we need to take care of our mental health as well.
Stress can take on many forms and impact our ability to provide care for others. It can cause mood swings, irritability, fear and worry about ourselves and our loved ones. We may have difficulty making decisions, feel hopeless or depressed. There can be changes in our appetite and sleep patterns. Routines and feelings of control may be gone. “It’s important to remember that these can be normal feelings in response to a situation most of us have not experienced before,” says Meagan Fandry, Caregiver Support Coordinator at the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Central Wisconsin (ADRC-CW). “If you are caring for a loved one with dementia, other unique care giving challenges present themselves,” adds Scott Seeger, Dementia Care Specialist with the ADRC-CW. “Part of the role of the ADRC is to help support caregivers as they care for their loved ones.”
Now is the time to take good care of yourself and develop coping skills that work for you.
Here are some things you can do to help yourself during these uncertain times:
• Eat foods that are good for you.
• Get a good night’s sleep; limit screen time before bed.
• Try to get some exercise daily.
• Reach out to family and friends through calls, texts or video chats.
• Set boundaries to not let the pandemic take over everything you watch, talk about
or read. Ask friends and family to talk about something else if needed.
• Find positive ways to manage your emotions such as reading, music, breathing,
stretching and relaxation.
• Avoid self-medicating with alcohol, drugs or other risky behaviors.
• Monitor changes of any preexisting mental health conditions you have.
• Check in with yourself daily and ask for help if you need it.