First of all, I hope that you and your family are doing well and staying safe! I’m not going to repeat the vast amount of important information and guidelines provided by multiple sources related to staying safe, etc.
My emphasis is on helping you cope mentally and emotionally with the current crisis. It is to be expected that this outbreak can contribute to significant, additional stress and anxiety. We all respond differently but, regardless, being able to cope is critical in preventing our immune system from being affected and in ensuring that we are able to face and overcome the current crisis.
We all need to monitor ourselves and our loved ones for possible signs of significant emotional and mental deterioration. Some specific areas that we need to observe are excessive worry (related to health, financials, future outlook, etc.), changes in sleep or eating patterns, difficulty concentrating, worsening of chronic health problems, and increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. Also, look out for increased irritability and possible signs of depression that can be triggered by increased social isolation, etc.
Things we can do to better cope with the current crisis:
– Take breaks for watching, reading, or listening to social media, news, and documentaries related to the virus
– Reach out to others, ideally on a virtual basis to avoid unnecessary contact
– Engage in positive, fun activities (e.g. reading, puzzles, watching pleasant programs or movies, etc.)
– Taking care of self by eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and using meditation or relaxation techniques
Of course, seeking proper help to address either medical or emotional/mental concerns is also critical. As part of accessing the proper mental health help, it is important to do so while protecting ourselves and others by avoiding in-person meetings. Specifically, Telehealth is an option that has proven to be effective and that has been used for many years (for example, Veterans Affairs has successfully used Telehealth for almost 30 years!). Importantly, we also have access to excellent technological options that facilitate making Telehealth a great experience. Finally, most medical insurance companies (e.g. Medicare) have not only relaxed past restrictions related to the use of Telehealth but are also encouraging Telehealth as the best way to ensure our emotional well-being.
Personally, I’ve used Telehealth in the past quite often to provide continuity of care for those traveling, or unable to be physically present during sessions. Currently, given the current Coronavirus situation, I am holding ALL sessions via Telehealth to ensure the safety of all (as per guidelines provided by multiple health agencies, and as requested by many clients). We are able to provide effective mental health support through the use of Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, or phone calls.
Please continue to stay safe, and take care of yourself by reaching out as needed