Coping with Stress and the Mental Health Challenges of COVID-19

Upset boy sitting on the floor keeps hand to cheek looking thoughtfully

When the COVID-19 pandemic started back in March, who could have imagined what impacts it would have several months later? Even though we are slowly adapting to a “new normal,” the virus has been a cause of stress and anxiety that can affect our mental health.

Stress can be triggered by a wide range of emotions and feelings, including:

  • Not being able to sleep.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Stress-eating “comfort foods.”
  • Worrying about whether you will give or get the virus.
  • Increased struggles with drugs and alcohol and their use.

If you are on the road to recovery and have spent time in rehab centers in Los Angeles or elsewhere, you know coping with stress can be much harder. You are also dealing with an internal struggle and an “inner voice” that keeps trying to tempt you to relapse.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to improve your mental health and well-being while managing stress and other mental health challenges brought on by COVID-19.

1. Get extended support from virtual sources.

Just because you can’t attend a meeting or group session, it doesn’t mean you are cut off from the support you need. Many meetings and group sessions have gone virtual so everyone can attend and share from the safety of their homes.

2. Stick to your daily routine.

It is important to stay on track with your daily routine. The virus may have thrown this off if you aren’t working right now. If your routine was affected, make a new one to help keep you focused and busy. For instance, you could schedule house chores, arts, crafts, searching for a job, etc. at specific times to keep some form of structure.

3. Don’t forget to get some exercise.

It can be tempting to turn into a couch potato and binge-watch television all day. However, this could be the start of a downward spiral that you don’t want to fall into. Instead, get up, get active. Go for a walk outside to get some fresh air. You can also search online for exercise routines you can do at home without any special equipment.

4. Stay in contact with friends and family.

You may not be able to see your parents and close friends right now in person. Yet, you can talk to them on the phone or use FaceTime, Skype, or some other video chat app. Maintaining these connections helps support our mental health.

5. Remember to eat well-balanced meals.

boy having an online meeting at the laptop at home sitting on sofa

It is very tempting to throw our regular eating habits out and seek comfort during COVID-19 in snack foods, chips, chocolate, ice cream, and other such “comfort foods.” While these things in moderation are okay, you need to stick with your normal eating habits that include making healthy choices.

6. Continue one-on-one sessions.

If you had regular weekly sessions with a counselor, therapist, or another such mental health or substance abuse professional, continue these sessions virtually. It is vital to continue your program and have someone to talk to that can help you avoid relapse and develop new coping mechanisms for improving your mental health.

Even though COVID-19 has impacted us in different ways, it does not mean you are alone. Help is available in the Los Angeles and the Sierra Madre areas, as well as virtually anywhere in the U.S., from Dedicato Treatment Center. Give us a call at 626-921-0113 today if you are ready to start rehab treatment or are looking for help coping with stress and avoiding a relapse!