Do you find yourself with opinions about what the government is doing (or not doing) to deal with COVID-19? Do your opinions match your family’s? Your friends’? Your neighbors’? No? Well, you’re not alone.
Just like politics, sex, and religion, COVID-19 has turned out to be a topic rife with disagreements.
But if we’ve learned nothing else from this pandemic experience, it’s that relationships are important. In fact, it turns out they’re about the most important things in our lives.
I recently wrote an article over at Health eCareers about how to communicate (effectively) with those with whom you might disagree about how this pandemic is being handled. Hint: keep those conversations civil and brief. Here’s a glimpse into the article:
I recently wrote an article over at Produce for Kids about how to help teenagers cope with the stress, anxiety, worry and grief caused by COVID-19.
Family game night, cute crafts and walks around the neighborhood are probably just not cutting it with the teens in your life. In fact, a Pinterest search for what to do with teenagers during stay-at-home orders turned up very little. And I don’t know about your teens, but mine just don’t want to spend endless hours with me learning new life skills. Ick.
Have you noticed your anxiety levels rising around the COVID-19 outbreak?
Do you find yourself worrying about what the illness means for you, your family and your friends?
Are you struggling to adapt to the ever-changing news stories, event cancellations and economic fluctuations?
You’re not alone. We’re all in this situation together: sharing the same worries.
The American Psychological Association has recently offered some strategies for managing the inevitable stress and fear that arises in situations like these where there are so many unknowns. Check them out:
Five Ways to View Coverage of the Coronavirus
reports about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, becoming more widespread
are making some people anxious. Here are some tips to help you manage
your anxiety, put news reports in perspective and maintain a positive
Keep things in perspective. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that the number of confirmed infections in the U.S. is extremely low. The fact that there is a great deal of news coverage on this issue does not necessarily mean that it presents any threat to you or your family.
Get the facts. It is helpful to adopt a more clinical and curious approach as you follow news reports about the virus. To that end, you will want to find a credible source you can trust. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a webpage dedicated to information on the coronavirus outbreak. You may also find useful information from local or state public health agencies or even your family physician.
Communicate with your children. Discuss the news coverage of the coronavirus with honest and age-appropriate information. Parents can also help allay distress by focusing children on routines and schedules. Remember that children will observe your behaviors and emotions for cues on how to manage their own feelings during this time.
Keep connected. Maintaining social networks can foster a sense of normality and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress. Feel free to share useful information you find on governmental websites with your friends and family. It will help them deal with their own anxiety.
Seek additional help. Individuals who feel an overwhelming nervousness, a lingering sadness, or other prolonged reactions that adversely affect their job performance or interpersonal relationships should consult with a trained and experienced mental health professional. Psychologists and other appropriate mental health providers can help people deal with extreme stress. These professionals work with individuals to help them find constructive ways to manage adversity.
Join me as I ramp up my Psychology and Photography series this year. I’m hoping to continue my goal of expressing moods, psychological states and emotions in non-verbal ways through photography. Welcome!
I was reading an article recently about Farm Stress, and the overall mental health crisis that is going on within our country’s farming communities. The pain and suffering is real, and very upsetting.
While I am not a farmer or rancher, I can try to understand the extreme conditions of the job: It’s physically dangerous, unpredictable because of weather, crop prices, and international relationships. Farmers are also making up a smaller and smaller portion of our population (less than 2%), and tend to be more geographically spread out than in years past. All of these factors – and others – combine to create a pressure-cooker of stress.
People are taking notice, however, and working hard to help those who are suffering. I discovered some wonderful resources through North Dakota State University. Here’s one:
For more information on farm stress and how to cope, check out this article:
Accessing and paying for mental health care can be tricky. Many mental health professionals do not work directly with insurance, and those who do can have very long wait lists. But did you know that there are some other ways you can pay for mental health care with the assistance of employer-run programs?
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). These programs are offered by many employers (large and small). EAPs allow employees to see a contracted mental health professional for 3-10 sessions per year free of charge. Yes, free! Too often, employees don’t know this is a benefit to which they are entitled. So ask your manager or HR department for more information.
Health Savings Accounts/Flex Spending Accounts/Medical Savings Accounts. These aren’t technically a benefit as this is money that you put away pre-tax to use for approved medical expenses. So, your employer doesn’t (usually) give you the money for the accounts, but many do facilitate the opening of such an account. Again, ask your manager or HR department for details.
Does work make you angry? Do you have trouble controlling your temper with your co-workers? Do you lost your cool on a regular basis?
Angry outbursts aren’t just annoying, unprofessional and upsetting to everyone; high levels of anger have also been linked to a number of health problems. These include increased risk for: heart attacks, heart disease and strokes. High levels of anger have also been linked to a weakened immune system.
I recently wrote an article on Health eCareers offering tips for how to manage your anger at work in particular. Here’s one tip:
Want more ideas about how to manage your irritability at work? Check out the entire article here:
In my last post I wrote about how to determine if you (or someone else) is using alcohol in a problematic way. In this post, I would like to talk about options for treatment. Because there are a lot.
We all know about AA, and 30 day residential programs, but there are so many more options available as well. In a recent article over at Health eCareers, I outline several of the most common treatment options, including: detox, inpatient, intensive outpatient and medically-assisted treatment. I also talk about individual psychotherapy, which is often an important part of a treatment plan:
In my practice, I often work with folks struggling with addiction. If you would like to talk more about how individual psychotherapy can help with sobriety, please give me a call at 303-828-3080.