According to some research, two of the biggest drivers of suicidal thoughts and attempts are job loss and social isolation. Amid the Covid pandemic, millions of people are facing unemployment, financial hardship and loneliness on a level never experienced before. To make matters worse, many of the activities that people usually engage in to improve their mood are off limits, such as socializing with friends, going to the gym, playing sports, going to church etc. Some of the effects of Covid stress include but are not limited to:
- Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, worry, or frustration
- Changes in appetite, energy, desires, and interests
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping or having nightmares
- Physical reactions such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes
- Worsening of existing chronic mental and health concerns
- Increased use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances
One way of unwinding and destressing is with a glass of wine or a “quarantini”. It seems like a good way to cope with the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we all know this is not the answer and is actually making things worse. We’re just bored is all, right? Alcohol sales has increased by 40%-60% over the last year. Marijuana dispensaries and stores are still open, as they’ve been deemed “essential,” which seems to only be promoting reliance on substances to lift people’s moods.
So, what to do? Here are some ideas:
- Get some exercise, perhaps going for a walk outside. Being outside (even in the snow) lifts the mood especially if it is sunny out (increases vitamin D production, the happy vitamin)
- Try to keep busy. I like jigsaw puzzles as it keeps the mind and hands occupied. You can try painting. They have cool new paint by numbers for adults which my mother-in-law really likes. Reading is a great time buster and puts you into a different world for hours. Watch some comedies to get a laugh.
- Try to get plenty of sleep and nap if you’re feeling run down. Even if you don’t sleep, napping can relax you and calm your mind down.
- Try to eat well. If you are stuck at home, try new recipes and be creative in the kitchen.
- If you can’t be with your friends and family, talk to them on FaceTime, Zoom, Skype or other ways. It’s great to be able to see and talk to them and I have thanked the universe for this to be able to see my kids and grand babies.
- Turn up the music. Get your favorite music whether it is to calm you down or pump you up, and turn it up! Dance around to upbeat music or chill to Beethoven. Whatever works for you.
- Try meditation and gain control of your mind. As the picture in this article states “WHAT ARE THE MOST POWERFUL WORDS IN THE UNIVERSE? THE ONES YOU USE TO TALK TO YOURSELF”. Be easy on yourself and try to stay positive. Talk to yourself and use positive affirmations.
No one knows how long this pandemic is going to last so it’s up to you to make the best of it. We all experience stress in our lives but it’s what you do with it that counts.