For the past several months Tennesseans have watched as COVID 19 case numbers rise. As those case numbers go up, so can your anxiety. For many it may be the first time your lives and well-being have been severely impacted by concerns about a virus. The social distancing guidelines put in place to help slow the spread of COVID 19 may have increased feelings of isolation, depression and fear.
As state and local governments work to phase in reopening guidelines it’s important to keep a focus on your mental health and overall wellbeing. In an op-ed, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Marie Williams wrote, “as businesses reopen and we attempt to find balance in the weeks and months ahead, being mindful of our personal mental health and that of those around us is essential. I would like to invite you to focus on three strategies: Find your center, practice patience, and maintain connection through communication.”
Adjusting to what many call a “new normal” is different for everyone. Some may find themselves in survival mode, gathering resources and information needed to function at school, work and with others. Others may be settling down into their new routines while trying to combat social isolation or learning how to “re-live” with friends, colleagues and loved ones.
Through all of this, try to remember a few important things;
· These may be uncertain times, but it is temporary! It’s okay to not feel okay and it’s okay to reach out for help and resources.
· It’s good to be informed, it’s even better to know when to take a break from news, conversations and other information related to COVID 19.
· While adjusting to a new, temporary lifestyle be patient and flexible with yourself and others. You’re not going to perfectly juggle remote work with home schooling and childcare.
· Focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t.
Healthcare and First Responders
Tennessee’s healthcare workers and first responders have experienced some of the biggest lifestyle changes and challenges during the COVID 19 pandemic. TDMHSAS has launched a phone line to serve healthcare workers and first responders who are feeling stressed, anxiety, sadness or depression related to work. The COVID 19 Emotional Support Line for Healthcare Workers is available to call at 888-642-7886.