What we as individuals, families, a nation and a world have lived through these last four months is unlike anything most of us have experienced.
Between COVID-19, riots, unemployment and an uncertain future, many of us are feeling more stress and anxiety than we have in the past. Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. We all experience situations and life events that make us feel down, sad and even anxious. How do you know it is more than just the occasional anxiety?
According to the Mayo Clinic, often anxiety disorders involve repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes. When these feelings of panic start to interfere with our everyday lives, this is a sign that it might be more than occasional anxiety.
With the unrest in our world today, more and more people are finding themselves feeling overwhelmed. The Center for Disease Control lists healthy ways to cope with everyday stress and anxiety. Some of those tips include:
1. Take care of your emotional health. If you do this, it will help you to think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect yourself and your family.
2. Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
3. Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, try to eat healthy- well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid excessive alcohol use.
4. Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
5. Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
6. Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations. While social distancing measures are in place, consider connecting online, through social media, or by phone or mail.
If you are feeling as though your anxiety is becoming more of a concern, consulting with a health care provider can help you to better manage the overwhelming feelings.
When we are feeling stressed and overwhelmed as adults, many times those uncomfortable feelings leak off on to our children. It is important that we engage with our children each day to check in on their mental health. We can help them by giving them a listening ear and spending quality family time together.
Most importantly, we can help them by being a positive role model. Our children learn to cope and deal with stress from their primary caregivers. The way you cope and handle uncomfortable feelings and situations is a road map to how your kids will handle those same feelings.
If you are concerned about yourself or someone you love, there are a variety of resources that may help.
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255
• New Mexico Crisis & Access Line
Phone Number: 1-855-NMCRISIS (662-7474)
• American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: Children, Teens & Suicide Loss
This is a comprehensive booklet that has a great list of additional resources at the end of it.
Link to Booklet: afsp.org/find-support/ive-lost-someone/resources-loss-survivors/children-teens-suicide-loss/
• The Dougy Center (National Center for Grieving Children & Families)
This website has a school and community toolkit with factsheets and podcasts.
• The Suicide Prevention Center
Link is a video that talks about “postvention”: sprc.org/video/suicide-postvention