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COVID and Mental Health

RDU Counseling for Change - COVID AND Mental HealthAre you still feeling the stress of COVID and all that goes with it?

You’re not alone!

It’s been a strain on us all. We’re all feeling the effects of a pandemic that seems to keep dragging on. 

According to U.S. surveys, 40% of adults say they are experiencing heightened stress, anxiety, and depression as a result of the pandemic. Much of this comes from economic pressure. More than 30% of U.S. adults say they have experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic. Many have lost jobs, businesses have closed their doors, and the cost of everything has gone up and up. Not to mention an increase in inflation this year is causing a strain on everyone.

It’s only natural for us to feel stress from all of this. The challenges are real. But there are things we can do to help relieve this stress, or at least lower it.

How do you know if you’re over stressed?

Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if you may be overly stressed.

  • Are you noticing changes in your eating? Has your appetite dropped? 
  • Do you feel you have less energy than normal? 
  • Are you less interested in the things you’re working on, or your hobbies? 
  • How is your sleep? Are you getting enough of it? Do you frequently have nightmares?
  • Do you find it hard to concentrate on work or make decisions? 
  • Are your emotions all over the place? 
  • Do you feel yourself shifting from fear to sadness, anger and frustration? 
  • Do you feel acute anxiety
  • Or do you just feel numb sometimes, like nothing really matters?
  • Have you found yourself relying on alcohol or drugs to cope?

Our emotions can also manifest in physical symptoms, like body aches, indigestion, headaches, or skin rashes.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, did you struggle with these before COVID?  If so, have the symptoms increased? 

All of these things are normal when we’re under a lot of stress and lack healthy ways to cope with the unknown.

What Can You Do?

If you, or someone you know are already in crisis mode, experiencing feelings of suicide or acute physical symptoms, call 911 and get immediate help. 

Or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish.

If your symptoms are not life-threatening, then there are many things you can do to mitigate them:

  • Turn off the news, as much as possible. Yes, we all feel the need to be informed, but too much information affects our mental state. The news is largely negative, and over exposure to it can trigger anxiety and depression, among other negative emotions. 
  • Take a break from watching TV and engaging in social media. Put your phone away for periods of time during the day, and find other, more wholesome things to do with your time.
  • It should be a no-brainer, but make sure to take care of yourself, especially your body. Eating healthy and exercising are great ways to help any symptoms of anxiety or depression. Pay attention to your diet. Are you eating enough vegetables and fruits? Or are you gorging on comfort foods full of salt, sugar, and fat? Be conscious of what you eat, and try to regain some balance.
  • Keep up with your regular doctor appointments and treatments.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep. Set regular hours for sleep. Adults should be getting at least 7 hours a night; perrably closer to 8 or 9. 
  • Get more exercise. We all know we’re supposed to do it. Start out small. Any movement is better than none, but gradually increase it over time until you’re getting 30-40 minutes of it a day. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Just start by going for a walk. 
  • Stretch your body. Practice yoga, or simply take time to stretch after an exercise routine. Stress and anxiety tend to build up in our muscles. Gently stretch them out to release it.
  • One of the best ways to deal with stress and anxiety is through meditation. Take deep breaths frequently and pay attention to your breathing. Very few of us really take in enough oxygen, and this heightens stress, as taking in more of it lowers it. Breathe!
  • Take time for yourself, to relax, to do things you enjoy doing. Keep up connections with friends and family. Discuss how you’re feeling about what’s going on. Getting these feelings out is very healthy.
  • Remain, or get,  involved in community and faith organizations. If you can’t do that in person, do it virtually.
  • Cut back on alcohol consumption. If you choose to drink at all, limit it to no more than 1 to 2 drinks per day, on days when you consume it.
  • Do not abuse prescription or illegal drugs. If you know you have a problem with them, get help. They are not helping you in the long run.

Remember, no matter how stressful the situation may be, you are not alone. There are people who care about you. Reach out to them. They probably need your help, too.

Professional Counseling Can Help!

Don’t hesitate to call for professional counseling. If you live in the Raleigh or greater RDU-Wake County area, give us a call. We’re RDU Counseling for Change. We offer mental health counseling for individuals, couples, and families, in person or via Telehealth. 

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Our Team of Professionals

  • Kelly Harrison

    Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC)
  • Kelley Baughman

    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate (LCMHCA)
  • Whitney Chambers

    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate (LCMHCA)
  • Christy Douglas

    MA, LCMHC
    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
  • Hugo Izzo

    LCMHC
    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
  • Bryon Lawrence

    LCMHC
    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
  • Breanna Linn

    LCMHCA
    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate
  • Sallie Ratcliffe

    LCMHCA
    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate