What is emotional wellness?
Emotional wellness refers to our ability to process feelings in a healthy, positive way and manage the stress of everyday life.
During the early days of the pandemic, our stress levels rose exponentially. Many lost their jobs, financial stability, housing stability, and our children have had to learn to adapt to abrupt changes in their daily lives.
The challenges we have all faced are not only only stressful, but also overwhelming.
Consequently, anxiety and symptoms of depression have dramatically increased. My concern is that suicidal tendencies will also increase.
How are you and your family handling all of the drastic changes to our normal lives? Have you taken a moment to assess your individual household and that of your nearest and dearest?
Before we could return to pre-pandemic life, we have been forced to navigate a second, third and now, a fourth COVID-19 surge. That in itself is overwhelming. For me personally, being constantly immersed in COVID and running my businesses has been a daunting task.
Top all of this off with Hurricane Ida, and the stress and overwhelming uncertainties can make us wonder how we will EVER return to normal. Is it even possible? And, how long is it going to take?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides these symptoms of stress during an infectious disease outbreak:
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones.
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns.
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
- Worsening of chronic health problems.
- Worsening of mental health conditions.
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.
Click here to read more about Mental Health and Coping during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or, if you notice any of these symptoms in your children, it may be time to reach out and explore the resources available to assist you and your children in a path to recovery. Remember that your personal physicians and pediatricians are available to help and recommend resources as well. If you are concerned about your own coping mechanisms, have you figured out how your child/adolescent is coping?
Your children understand increased stress and anxiety in the household. They feel the stress. Children have been separated from their daily routines, friends, extracurricular activities and for many, graduations. Many children and adolescents are feeling a huge sense of loss due to missed milestones that have traditionally been special and integral to the path forward and future accomplishments.
It is imperative that you keep the lines of communication open. Be honest and straightforward. While we can talk these things out with our older children, the younger children may not be able to verbalize their feelings. Instead, you may notice behavioral changes or, changes in sleep and eating patterns. Pay attention. Talk to your pediatrician and other peers navigating the same things.
There are things you can do to promote your own emotional wellness and that of your family and loved ones.
Unplug from social media and the news. Try to limit your exposure to pandemic case counts and disconnect from your phone and screens for awhile. Stop and smell the roses, if only for a moment. Refocus. Decompress with what enthuses you.
It is impossible to take care of others if you are not taking care of yourself!
Eating well, exercising, and sleeping soundly and consistently are important to maintaining your emotional and physical health.
Alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse have increased dramatically during the pandemic. Controlling consumption will improve your overall well-being.
Staying focused on all of the overwhelming consequences of the pandemic makes it easy to forget to take time to relax and connect with family with friends.
If you are a member of a church, it is still possible to connect by phone or virtually, even with social distancing in order to feel connected.
By reaching out to friends and family that you know are struggling or, are alone, will help you feel better emotionally.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services is a fabulous resource that we utilize often. They have numerous fact sheets to help with navigating all of the current uncertainties.
You can watch their video here for Five Things About Staying Mentally Healthy During the COVID-19 Outbreak:
We have to pay special attention to those that have lost a loved one during the pandemic. They are grieving. When people die, we are at a loss as to what the right thing is to say or do. Avoidance is typical. If you truly care about the person that lost someone, you have to try to be there and improve their situation in one fashion or the other. It will mean different things for different people. But do something! Not only will you help them, you will be helping yourself to feel better about this situation.
The National Institutes of Health, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services offers an Emotional Wellness Toolkit online for assistance with improving your emotional health. They offer six strategies:
- Brighten your outlook.
- Reduce stress.
- To get better quality sleep.
- To be more mindful.
- To help cope with loss.
- To build healthy support systems.
To read complete details, you can view the entire article here.
The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) recommends the following:
IF YOU ARE IN CRISIS, GET IMMEDIATE HELP:
- Call 911
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
- National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453)
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
- Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
- The Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116
If you are looking for ways to manage your stress, check out the CDC's "Coping With Stress" article here.
We are going to briefly touch on post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It does not just pertain to soldiers.
PTSD can develop when a person experiences a shocking, scary or dangerous event.
Hurricanes, accidents, assaults, and violence of any kind.
Most people recover naturally, but if the symptoms become chronic, a diagnosis and recommended treatment plan become necessary.
Help is available. You just have to accept that you have a problem that cannot be solved on your own. Resources abound. Without judgment. You just have to avail yourself of them and ask for help.
IT IS NOT a sign of weakness to realize we have a problem and to seek help to solve that problem. It truly is a signal of inner strength, and something to be respected!
Many of our subscribers have inquired as to how I fared with Hurricane Ida as well as our team. I am truly touched by the concern. As most of you know, I live in South Louisiana. I am used to hurricanes. NOT of this magnitude. They hit and usually pass quickly. Not this time. We sustained 5 hours of over 100 MPH winds at my house. I can honestly say that I have NEVER been so frightened in my life. I am grateful and appreciative that we survived. It was iffy for awhile. No communication, no phones, internet or television and, no idea how much longer it would last. With help from my sick friend an hour away, she stayed up sending me pictures of the radar off of her television. We survived. Major damage, but so many more people lost everything with this storm. We are helping friends and neighbors. We are all coming together to make things better. Y’all know us, we are resilient and love to eat. We ALWAYS find a way to feed who we can. Now, we are navigating insurance companies, gas and food shortages. All with a positive attitude because there are so many worse than we are. Many will need to reach out for additional assistance, both by resources for structural help, but also for emotional/mental health assistance. This was a truly traumatic event. Thanks to all of you for reaching out. The Le Snuggle team.
Be kind to your mind.
Mental health problems are common. Here are ways to cope with stress and promote well-being:
Pause. Breathe. Notice how you feel.
Take breaks from upsetting content.
Take care of your body.
Reach out and stay connected.
Seek help if overwhelmed or unsafe.