The stress of staying home

first_img HomeNewsThe stress of staying home The stress of staying homeApril 23, 2020Mark CarpenterNews0 By Dr. William HablitzelAdams County Health CommissionerMost of us long for a holiday or an occasional day off from work or school and the prospect of staying home. When days stretch into weeks, however, staying home can quickly lose its appeal. Add to that an almost constant stream of television, radio, and social media talking about the new coronavirus, the time we spend at home can be filled with stress and anxiety.A recent survey conducted by the American Psychiatric Association found more than one-third of Americans reported the coronavirus pandemic having a serious impact on their mental health. Studies have long associated social isolation with depression. Lack of control over stressful events have been shown to produce and strengthen feelings of anxiety and depression.So how do we deal with the stress of staying home and living through a pandemic? Perhaps, most important is the realization that we are not alone and that others are feeling what we feel. Fear, anxiety, and strong emotions are normal during stressful times. Take comfort in the knowledge that these feelings will fade. Stay connected with friends and family. Share your concerns and be supportive of theirs.Reality can seldom produce anything as dark and horrifying as what we can imagine in our minds. Avoid social media as a source of information about the coronavirus, turning instead to a trusted source, such as coronavirus.ohio.gov or by calling the Ohio COVID-19 call center at (833) 4-ASK-ODH. While being informed is important, it is easy to become overwhelmed with information. Limit your exposure to media coverage of COVID-19, perhaps, to two 30-minute-periods each day.Keeping a regular schedule can help reduce the stress of staying home. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Shower, dress, and prepare for your day just as you normally would. If working from home, set aside a special place for that work, even if only a corner of a table, and let it be when the workday is over. Scheduling time every day for pleasurable activities such as taking a walk, staying in touch with friends, or working on a hobby has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.A nutritious diet, regular exercise, avoiding alcohol and drugs, and making time for relaxation can help ease the burden we feel from the coronavirus pandemic. Meditation and getting out in nature can be powerful tools to reduce stress and anxiety. So too, is helping others through these difficult times. Looking in on the neighbor who lives alone, shopping for that older person with health problems, or helping care for the children of a worker of an essential business will not only help others, but will leave you feeling better as well.For questions about COVID-19 or help dealing with its impact on mental health, call the Adams County Health Department at (937) 554-5547. 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