These unprecedented times have affected us all in different ways, and it’s normal to feel upset, burnt out, anxious, or a variety of other feelings of stress. With so much going on in the world around us, it is easy for our own needs to fall last. Whether it is physical reactions like a tight chest or upset stomach, inability to focus, lack of motivation, feeling lonely, or any other symptoms, it’s important to pay attention to signs of stress and take steps to feel better.
Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions are medical diagnoses, no different than diabetes or heart disease, and can ultimately affect your ability to function in everyday life. Nearly 1 in 4 adults suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder in a given year, and that number is only rising due to the implications of COVID-19.
While Gen Z and millennials have been reported to make mental health a top priority, stress, anxiety, depression, and worry do not discriminate, and everyone must prioritize their mental health to improve their overall well-being. Here are tips from our Colorado Spirit team to support you while prioritizing your mental health.
Find Your Support Network and Reach Out. One effective way to manage stress or anxiety is to find a support network of others who have similar experiences. In the case of COVID-19, everyone is living through the same event, and most people will be able to relate to your concerns. Make an effort to connect and talk with each other about what you’re going through.
Tip: Building a support network is a two-way street. Assess how you can help your loved ones and your community.
Get Your Body Moving. Exercise is a great way to release pent-up energy and reduce levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Even relatively short periods of activity can have a positive impact on your mental and physical health.
Tip: Take this time to disconnect. This looks different for everyone. Whether it is a stroll around the neighborhood or a lengthy bike ride, take some time to step away from screens and unplug from our “always-on” culture.
Find a Healthy Distraction. When your anxiety is mounting, it can feel difficult to think of anything else. However, finding a healthy distraction like yoga, meditation, or journaling can give your brain something else to engage with so you get some time away from your stressful thoughts.
Tip: Prioritize your time the same way you would prioritize something at work. Having dedicated and intentional unwinding time can greatly improve your emotional well-being.
Identify Your Warning Signs. Trembling hands, chest tightness, and racing thoughts can all be signs of stress or anxiety. Knowing your unique triggers and warning signs can help you recognize when you need to take a step back and address the situation.
Tip: This looks different for everyone and can mean many different things. It is important to understand your signs and listen to your body.
Know When to Get Help. There are plenty of grounding techniques and skills available to people struggling with depression and anxiety, but when those symptoms become unmanageable, it’s time to seek out professional assistance. If your mental health is suffering due to COVID-19, Colorado Spirit is here to support you.
Tip: Fight the stigma around mental health. Acknowledging that you might need to seek help is not a sign of weakness. It will only help you get to know yourself better.
Remember, Jefferson Center’s Colorado Spirit team is here for you. Offering free and confidential support, we can help you with counseling tips and strategies to cope successfully and referrals to additional mental health resources. Call 720-731-4689 if you need to talk.
If you or someone you know is in a crisis, please call 1-8444-492-8255 or visit our 24/7 crisis walk-in center at 4643 Wadsworth Blvd, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033.