With the continued need for social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are spending more time at home and limiting social contact with friends and family outside the home. These changes often cause many to experience increased feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and despair. Acknowledging any change in emotions with you or your family members is the first step in feeling better. If you feel yourself or family members are overwhelmed, please take it seriously and seek professional assistance. While it is totally normal and understood that this is an unprecedented time of uncertainty, having an increased awareness for signs of struggling helps maintain good mental health.

Observing New Behaviors in Family Members
Whether you are an essential worker, have been furloughed, retired, or working from home, everyone is going through a major adjustment. Keep in mind that mental health can look different to everyone. If you are living with someone that might be expressing behaviors of concern, talk to them. You can make it a point to observe not only their mental health, but yours, too; doing so can make the conversation more comfortable and open. Try taking a day to focus on your mental health together or as a family. If you are concerned you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of a specific mental health condition, there are tests available online from Mental Health America. While these are not meant to replace a formal diagnosis, they can help start the conversation for seeking answers during this difficult time.

Coping with Depression and Anxiety During Long-Term Uncertainty
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an uncertain future in our world. Without a clear timeline of when we can return to our “new normal,” many people may be experiencing new or worsening depression and anxiety. People cope differently, some better than others. However, there are healthy ways you can cope with depression and anxiety throughout this uncertain time:

  • Exercise and eat a healthy diet – Putting the stressful energy that you have into fitness can benefit your body and your mind. Taking care of your body with a healthy diet and exercise can help keep stress and anxiety at bay.
  • Alone time – Being with the same person or people at home every day can be stressful. Do not forget to take some time for yourself. Go for a walk, read a book, or find an opportunity to separate yourself for a brief period in the house. Sticking with a daily routine, not watching or reading the news, and focusing on the positive can help your mind stay more at ease.
  • Talk to someone – Try telling your problems or feelings to someone that you are not living with; whether it be phoning a friend or an online telemedicine counseling session with one of our Behavioral Health Consultants, this can help relieve built-up stress. While you may not be able to see friends and family face-to-face, be sure to stay in touch virtually through texts, emails, or video chats.

Regardless of your best efforts, if you are still experiencing depression or anxiety symptoms that do not go away or are still getting worse, you mustn’t ignore them. Help is always available – contact your primary HealthLinc provider, a helpful organization like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), your company’s employee assistance program, a friend or loved one. If you are afraid you may harm yourself, reach out right away to your healthcare provider, a mental health professional, or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Our Behavioral Health Consultants have experience coping with depression, anxiety, goal setting, and everything in between. For more assistance and to view our services, visit our website and contact us today, or call 1-888-580-1060 to schedule an appointment with one of our HealthLinc providers. You are not alone.