A pandemic can be stressful, here are some tips and resources for bettering your mental health

ST. GEORGE — During the pandemic, there are a number of stresses in people’s lives. It might be the stress of possibly contracting COVID-19 or a loss of employment. For some, even the loosening of restrictions on how people can gather in public is a cause for concern. During these uncertain times, it is important to cope with these stressors.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these stresses can include fear and worry about the health of you or your loved ones, changes in sleep or eating patterns, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, worsening of chronic health problems, worsening of mental health conditions and increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.

Those who are possibly responding more strongly to stress are those who are most at risk, children and teenagers, first responders and those with mental health conditions.

There are various ways to cope with the stress of the pandemic, but the CDC website focused on the following.

Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including social media. The CDC says hearing about the pandemic numerous times can trigger stress.

Take care of your body. The CDC recommends taking deep breaths, stretching or meditation. It could also be helpful to eat healthy meals and exercise regularly while avoiding alcohol and drugs. Also make time to unwind, doing activities that you enjoy.

Lastly, connecting with others is a way to cope. Talk with those that you are close to and get your concerns or thoughts off your chest.

As for children and teens, they react similarly to what they see from the adults in their lives. The CDC recommends that parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 pandemic calmly and confidently to reassure those around them.

For local resources, NAMI Utah is rolling out free online support groups and mental health seminars to those impacted in Southern Utah. They are also providing 90-minute online mental health education workshops each Thursday in May at 7 p.m.

“We are excited to be offering online support groups and mental health education seminars online. We know there is tremendous need, especially in light of new stressors related to COVID-19,” NAMI Utah executive director Robert Wesemann said in a release.

Wesemann also said the response from participants in the pilot online support groups is promising, saying that people are able to find a safe space to share and gain support.

“This quarantine feels so isolating and lonely for people who don’t regularly struggle with mental illness, so being able to offer this to the community is truly remarkable,” state trainer of support group facilitators Sherrie Llewelyn said.

You can register for the support groups here, or contact Christene Finch at [email protected]

For more information on coping with stress during the pandemic, you can visit the CDC website here.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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