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Deal­ing with Stress and a New Normal”

With so much that has hap­pened all at once, many of us are feel­ing over­whelmed, anx­ious, and scared. It’s com­plete­ly under­stand­able to be feel­ing this way — and you are cer­tain­ly not alone. 

As we’re tak­ing steps to pro­tect our phys­i­cal health, we must also care for our men­tal and emo­tion­al health. Every­one deals with stress and change dif­fer­ent­ly, so be patient with your­self as you try new ways to help man­age dif­fi­cult emo­tions. Here are a few things that you can try to care for your men­tal and emo­tion­al health:

  • Take a break from the media. It’s hard to clear your mind if you’re con­stant­ly hear­ing news about COVID-19. Step away from the news for a while, and lim­it how often you check trust­ed media outlets.
  • Do some­thing you enjoy. Read the book you’ve been mean­ing to start, col­or a page in a col­or­ing book, do a puz­zle, or pam­per your­self with a home spa day. Give your­self some­thing pos­i­tive to look for­ward to each day.
  • Laugh! Watch a fun­ny video clip, tell a friend or fam­i­ly mem­ber a joke, or play with your pet. Do some­thing that puts a smile on your face.
  • Get some fresh air. Go out­side, take a walk, or go for a bike ride, just be sure you’re observ­ing social dis­tanc­ing guide­lines. Enjoy­ing nature is a great way to reduce stress.
  • Stay con­nect­ed with friends and fam­i­ly. Social dis­tanc­ing should­n’t mean social iso­la­tion. Reach out to a friend, a fam­i­ly mem­ber, a neigh­bor, or some­one you know to check up on them and catch up. Even if we can’t be phys­i­cal­ly togeth­er, we can all be resources for each other.
  • Pay atten­tion to your body, and be sure that you’re treat­ing it well. Stretch, exer­cise, get enough sleep and water. Enjoy a nutri­tious meal. Med­i­tate. These things can not only help relieve stress in your mind, but also help you feel bet­ter physically.
  • If you were work­ing with a men­tal health pro­fes­sion­al before the pan­dem­ic, con­tin­ue that work. Reach out to your men­tal health provider to learn if you can con­tin­ue work­ing togeth­er by phone or video chat. Don’t let your­self lose the progress you were making.
  • Final­ly, if you are unable to go about your dai­ly life because of the stress or anx­i­ety that you’re feel­ing, con­sult with your health­care provider or men­tal health pro­fes­sion­al. If you feel you are in dan­ger of harm­ing your­self or oth­ers, call 911.

As you’re estab­lish­ing your rou­tines in this new nor­mal,” make sure that your men­tal health is just as impor­tant as your phys­i­cal health. We’ll all get through this together.

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No one who achieves suc­cess does so with­out the help of oth­ers. The wise and con­fi­dent acknowl­edge this help with gratitude.

—Alfred North Whitehead