By Terri Lynn Oldham House
These days, there are times we can barely pry ourselves out of bed, and when we get home from work, we want to crawl back under those covers and go to sleep.
We realize that self-care is important and we need to let ourselves rest and recover from the stress.
The stay-at-home directives that are helpful during a pandemic can also create stress, loss, loneliness and isolation, which are key factors of depression.
Fear, worry and anxiety during these days of coronavirus can be overwhelming to say the least.
So many people have experienced disappointments, cancellations and major changes these past couple of months since the pandemic was declared.
Many youth in our community have lost the connection to their daily routines of seeing their favorite teachers, their principal and their friends.
Our young athletes saw their seasons end early, and for our spring athletes, the season barely started.
Senior prom, as most of us know it, didn’t happen. Now those same seniors are faced with nontraditional graduation ceremonies.
Parents were thrust into the roles of teachers when their children couldn’t go back to in-person instruction at school. Many of those parents had been helping provide an income for their family and now they find themselves unable to make ends meet.
Not only do they not have the money to pay the bills, but they can’t even find toilet paper and hand sanitizer or some basic staples when they go to the store.
Business owners are dealing with the inability to pay their employees. They can’t pay rent. They can’t pay utilities or other expenses.
And, starting a business back up during a pandemic isn’t as simple as we hoped it would be. There are new guidelines and necessary precautions that create challenge, change, and additional work and expense for businesses.
And, can you imagine trying to run a restaurant or a bar when you have to physically distance people 6 feet away from each other?
There is tremendous stress when you have to tell an employee that you need to cut their hours or when you are forced to let them go.
Even worse is the struggle for those employees to get through the ridiculous unemployment process and the wait to actually receive their benefits.
There are many people who are at high risk who have real concerns about going to the grocery store or anywhere they might have the chance of contracting COVID-19.
So many of our senior citizens are stuck inside in isolation and fear that catching this virus could claim their life.
Can you imagine being a first responder in this world today? Talk about stress.
And, victims of domestic violence may be stuck at home with their abuser and feel there is no way out.
While we may not have mentioned your scenario or situation, that doesn’t make it any less important.
We can’t think of anyone who has been untouched by this pandemic. Distress we feel is a normal response to a crisis.
Who would have ever dreamed we would be living through a pandemic where we would be stuck at home? Alone.
There is hope. There is help.
What is important now is to do something about it. Take action.
If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others, please call 911.
Other sources for help include:
• Rise Above Violence is available 24 hours a day at (970) 264-9075. All calls are free and confidential.
• Axis Health System offers a 24-hour crisis support line. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, call (970) 247-5245.
• Disaster Distress Helpline, call (800) 985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s
number is (800) 273-TALK (8255), 24/7,
or visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
• Thursday’s Child National Youth Advocacy Hotline is 800-USA-KIDS (872-5437), 24/7, or www.thursdayschild.org.
• National Domestic Violence Hotline, call (800) 799-7233 and TTY (800) 787-3224.
If you are not to the point of needing to call for help, there are some things you can do to help reduce the stress you are feeling. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that you:
• Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
• Take care of your body.
• Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate.
• Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
• Exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep.
• Avoid alcohol and drugs.
• Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
• Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
There are also ways we can help our friends, neighbors and loved ones. Just a phone call can make all the difference. You can also connect with them via email, send them a letter or a card, take a minute to text them a message, you can also video chat or arrange a Zoom gathering.
Is there someone you can reach out to today?
We encourage you to take care of your mental health and remember that there is always hope.