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Coping with the

Stress of COVID19
Mental Health
Aw a r e n e s s
W orkgroup of the

Managing Anxiety in Times of Crisis


Livingston County
Hum an Services
Collaborative Body

Common signs to recog- to choose a reliable activities you enjoy


nize that you may be news source and most, whether it is
experiencing stress are: then plan an allotted yoga or a fun hobby
an increase in irritability, amount of time you'd you've enjoyed before.
outbursts of anger and like to spend This is a great time to
frequent arguing, having exposing yourself to prioritize yourself and
trouble relaxing or sleep- it—make sure to those things that bring
ing, crying frequently, stick with that limit. you joy.1
and worrying excessively.
 Keep things in
You may also feel perspective. It's im-  Utilize this new time
depressed, angry or more portant to take time to your advantage.
sad emotionally while in the day thinking Due to social
your body may feel the about other things distancing efforts we
effects in different such as things that all find ourselves at
ways such as headaches, may be going well in home more. Try to
stomachaches and loss/ your life as well as utilize this time to Inside this issue:
increase of appetite. things that you have your advantage and
Things you can do to control over. accomplish things
Resources for 2
help manage anxiety: you've been thinking
 Maintain a routine. Parents
about.
 Limit your access to It is good to maintain
news. We can often a normal routine to  Keep yourself in good
get overwhelmed the extent that it is physical health. Helping Your
when watching con- possible. Keeping a Remember to Child Manage 2
stant news sources regular schedule can prioritize sleep, exer- Anxiety
speaking about be reassuring and cise and healthy food
COVID-19. It is best promotes physical and hydration.
health. Words Matter 2
 Take time to do
things you enjoy.
Focus on the How Should We
3
Family Do’s and Don’ts Respond?

Staying
Don’t watch the news for WHO’s websites for up to one else and forget you. Connected to 3
hours on end. date info—set a time limit.
Do practice self care—know
Each Other
Do limit you and your Don’t obsess. the signs of anxiety and
Powerless vs
kids’ TV time. watch for red flags. 3
Do find ways to fill the Empowered?
Don’t rely on social day—exercise, new crafts/ Do stay connected with
media for facts. projects, make a new loved ones and friends— Community
Do checkout the local
recipe, read a new book. maintain social connections Mental Health is 4
while social distancing.2 Here for YOU!
health depart, CDC’s or Don’t take care of every-
Page 2 Coping with COVID19 Tool Kit

Resources for Parents


COVID19 has unsettled all aspects of
our lives and our kids are effected too.
Here are some ways to help parents
make sense of this for their children.
M ake sure you are monitoring
what they are hearing from
TV, online and the radio. Too
much information can cause an in-
everyone calm.

F ind new ways to fill the day.


There are many resources
online, make a craft, cook a

R
crease in anxiety.
emain calm and reassure your meal or read a new book together.
child. They will sense your
feelings and react to them
despite what you are saying. Make sure
you keep calm too.
P rovide honest and accurate in-
formation to them. They need
truthful and age appropriate
information.
P ractice random acts of kindness
or mail a letter. Share family
gratitudes (what are you grate-
ful for) each day at dinner. Reflecting

A nswer their questions. Make


sure they feel like they can ask
questions and you are telling T
each kids how to prevent the
spread of germs. There are
many fun, online resources for
on the positive will help keep the your
mind focused toward the positive and
offset the negative.

H
them the age appropriate truth. song to use while washing your hands.
ave fun and laugh. Don’t for-

D
Pick a family song to use together!
o not blame others or increase get to play together too—
stigma. Anyone can get sick
from this virus.
K eep a daily routine. Establish-
ing a new routine for the
whole family can help keep
laughter is always the best
medicine!3

can help reduce anxiety. Be aware


Helping Your Child Mange Anxiety that developmentally inappropriate
information (i.e., information de-
signed for adults) can cause anxiety or
confusion, particularly in young
This can be a scary time for kids and  Monitor television viewing and children.
their families so here are some things social media. Limit television
you can do to help manage the anxiety viewing or access to information on
 Try calming activities that your
of children in the household. the Internet and through social children enjoy. Some ideas are; Silly
media. Try to avoid watching or Putty, fidget toys, jumping jacks,
 Remain calm and reassuring. weighted pillow/blanket, stretching,
listening to information that might
Children will react to and follow yoga, funny videos, and music.
be upsetting when your children are
your verbal and nonverbal reac-
present. Speak to your child about  Encourage healthy routines during
tions. Let your children talk about
how many stories about COVID-19 your daily schedule. Children benefit
their feelings and help reframe
on the Internet may be based on from a healthy routine that in-
their concerns into the appropriate
rumors and inaccurate information. volves Eating healthy foods, drinking
perspective. Remind them that you
and the adults at their school are  Talk to your child about factual water, getting proper sleep, and
there to keep them safe and information of this disease—this maintaining physical exercise.4
healthy.

W o r d s M a t t e r
There are many “new” words coming at One way to balance the progress not perfection,
us every day—COVID19, pandemic, news and social medial and I do not live in fear.
crisis, isolation, shelter in place… I messages is to balance
These affirmations can
could go on and on. The news channels the messages we hear.
be said to yourself, post-
and social media use these words con-
Positive affirmations ed on a board or mirror.
stantly.
are positive statement Families can also make
It is important to recognize these words which can be repeated one to represent them
have an affect on us. These words have to yourself of what you as a whole.
an emotional charge to them. They want to be true. Exam-
What you hear and say
evoke strong feelings like anxiety and ples include: Happiness
really matter—make it
fear. is a choice, I strive for
count!5
Page 3

How Should We Respond?


According to FEMA, there are three listen to their immediate
steps to “psychology first aid.’ needs.
Psychology first aid means supporting
one another by listening to their con- Helping out. Are there
cerns and needs, trying to help out basic things they need. Can
where you can and connecting them to you provide these? Make sure
resources in the community. to provide sympathy and sup-
port. If you can answer their
questions, do it with the correct infor- your experience, you help other realize
Listening. It is hard to listen when they are not alone.
mation—check reliable sources. Share
there is chaos and crisis. The current
success stories and encourage healthy
situation has changed since yesterday.
behaviors. Listening, helping and connecting with
First you must HEAR what is being
said. This means tuning out your each other will help us support one
thoughts and focusing your attention Connect. Connecting to others is another through this time. You can
and energy on the person. Are there powerful and necessary. Spend extra play a part in helping others feel con-
things being unsaid? Are their actions time with family and friends through nected and heard. How we respond
apps or on the phone. When you share matters!6
matching their words? Make sure to

Staying Connected to Each Other Random acts of kindness are a great


way to not only boost your mood but
others as well. Ideas include: leaving a
During times of crisis sometimes our Due to social distancing it may not be
treat or words of encouragement for
ability to reach out and be kind to recommended to drop-in on loved ones,
those who are still working during this
others not only helps us to feel positive especially those who may be high risk
crisis such as sanitary workers or
but also brings joy to ourselves and so considering sending a gift or a card
delivery people, posting something posi-
others. Somethings to consider: through the mail.
tive on another person's social media,
Check-in with your neighbors. or sending a cute animal video. Little
things can mean a lot to a person.
While following social distancing guide- “Everything can be taken
lines, reach out to your neighbors who Provide conversation. Even with
from us but one thing: the
may be at higher risk. Providing current social distancing practices
communication and potential grocery freedom to choose our technology has provided us multiple
essentials may be the perfect way to ways to still speak with our friends and
attitude in any given set of
help others but also provide you with a family. Try to reach out, conversations
sense of productivity and impact. circumstances.” can provide an opportunity for you
Reach out to loved ones with mail. -Viktor Frankl to talk about the positive things as well
as a chance for them to do the same.7

support me and get me where I am going.


Powerless vs Empowered? Exercise daily. Find something you like to do
Today when we are being told things Taking a break from everything can help and as you get better at it, you build you
like how far apart to stand from our disconnect and regroup. confidence.
fellow human beings, we can feel a lack Practice gratitude. At the end of the day,
Set goals for yourself. By
of control or a sense of powerless over find 1-3 things you are
setting and achieving goals,
our lives. grateful for and share
you build a sense of confidence
We can stay in this place of powerless- in your abilities. them in a journal or with
ness and lack of control or we can em- someone special.
Identify what you are good at
power ourselves in this moment. By Do something special for
doing. What are your natural
giving ourselves the authority to make someone. It can be a ran-
talents? Find ways to use
productive, helpful and kind actions/ dom act or not, but the joy
these at work or home.
decisions—we empower our self. Here of giving brings deep joy.8
are some ways to empower you: Identify what you like about yourself
and show it appreciation—my legs
Unplug. Turn it off or tune it out.
Livingston County
Human Services Ensuring a system of support for
Collaborative Body members of our community.
622 E. Grand River Ave
Howell, Michigan 48843

Phone: 517-586-2039
 We believe that collaboration means shared
Fax: 517-552-2526 stewardship of community resources for the com-
E-mail: ajohnston@cmhliv.org
mon good of Livingston County.
livgov.com/
 We believe that collaboration requires broad
hscb community representation.
Sources:
1. National Association of School Psychologists  We believe the HSCB is responsible for developing
https://www.nasponline.org/, Centers for Disease continuums of services from prevention to
Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/, and
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Ad- treatment.
ministration https://www.samhsa.gov/
2. March 2020 Life Advisor Newsletter  We believe the HSCB should ensure that community
3. March 2020 Life Advisor Newsletter
4. National Association of School Psychologists members needing services from multiple agencies
https://www.nasponline.org/
5. How To Stay Calm in the Midst Of the Corona- receive services as efficiently and effectively as
virus Crisis …
https://www.psychologytoday.com/.../how-stay- possible by creating systems of care.
calm-in-the-midst-the-coronavirus-crisis
6. "Listen, Protect and Connect": Psychological First  We believe that the HSCB should provide a caring
Aid for Children: Train the Trainer Course Merritt
Schreiber-Robin Gurwitch - PsycEXTRA Dataset - community for Livingston County residents by
2009
supporting each other’s work.
7. Mental Health and Activities Workbook
8. 8 Ways To Empower Yourself and Others Kaila
Proulx - https://www.huffpost.com/entry/8-ways-
to-empower-yoursel_b_11796828
9. March 2020 Life Advisor Newsletter

Emergency Services
(517) 546-4126
or
(800) 615-1245—
WAYS TO PRACTICE SELF CARE:9
might be time to get some profes- T OLL F REE
sional help.
 Make sure you are taking a
break from ALL media. Behavior:
 Take deep breaths. Increase/Decrease in activity level Thoughts:
 Smile. Increase in alcohol, tobacco or drug use Difficulty with memory and focus
 Keep moving. Increased irritability, or argumentative Confusion
behavior Thoughts of dread or doom
 Get fresh air. Difficulty relaxing or sleeping
 Drink water. Crying spells / Excessive Worry Physical/Body:
 Sleep and rest. Difficulty with focus/concentration Stomach upset
Headaches / Sweating
Many people have difficulty manag- Emotions: Changes in appetite
ing emotions, especially during Fear / Depression / Guilt / Anger Tremors/muscle spasms
stressful situations. If you notice Euphoric / Numb Easily startled
some of these warning signs, it Chest pain

Creating pathways to wellness, recovery, resilience and self-determination