We can’t control the national news, but we can manage how we react to the constant barrage of scary headlines. In times of crisis — like the global COVID-19 pandemic — it is critical to manage your stress and mental health. Here, Sarah Eliasoph, executive director of NAMI Lowcountry, the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Health, offers some practical suggestions:
1. Try to stick to your usual daily routines: Get up at the same time each day, shower, get dressed and have breakfast. It will make you feel better and ready to take on the day.
2. Don’t spend too much time watching the news or on social media and stick to reputable news sources.
3. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. “You can wash the dishes, and you’ll feel better when they’re washed.”
4. Get outside for some fresh air, even if it’s just a walk around your yard.
5. Keep busy doing things you enjoy — and things that need to be done. Even if you don’t enjoy these chores, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment when they’re done.
6. Create relaxing experiences like taking baths, listening to music you enjoy, and lighting aromatherapy candles.
7. If you are feeling anxious or despondent, call someone you trust.
8. Many local therapists are now doing tele-sessions. Or text 741741 to connect to the free national mental health crisis line. These experts are here to help.