One of the most important issues that has effected our lives during this global pandemic has been an impact mental health. We have all had to make adjustments to our "normal"
lives, to keep ourselves and our families safe and healthy. I wanted to invite one of my dear sisters mental health expert and Clinical Psychologist Dr. Rose Dillon, to provide us some insight and tips for those of us who may be experiencing an impact on our mental health. I have asked Dr. Dillon to answer the following five questions:
How do pandemics in general effect our mental health?
Pandemics often cause a sense of fear of the unknown. When a new or existing virus is presented into the world it can cause a harmful effect such as a increase in depression and anxiety. In addition limiting the ability for one to have control of their own circumstances, which can create further symptoms of anxiety.
How can I cope with any stress and anxiety I am feeling?
It is important to practice self care during these times of uncertainty. Making sure you are eating healthy and exercising. If you are in physical isolation try to stay connected rather through face time, zoom, or other platforms. If you do not have access to this technology, even writing letters to family and friends would suffice. Reach out to family, friends or to a professional if you are struggling with stress or anxiety. Asking for help during these times is important to help manage and understand what you are experiencing.
How much does the media play a role in our mental health during a time like this?
Sometimes the media can exacerbate negative effects on mental health. Its important to take breaks for upsetting content you may see on television. Having constant exposure to upsetting news can cause havoc on your mental stability.
What if I already have an anxiety disorder? How can I try and avoid my triggers?
Create a safe haven. For example maybe a safe place is a particular room in your home or taking a walk, where you can decompress. It's important that once you have identified what your triggers are; you spend time to create a list that focuses on the things you can control. Prioritizing the things you can control will help alleviate the overwhelming emotions that occur during a pandemic. Normalizing these feelings and giving yourself a break. It’s important to know that what you are experiencing is not abnormal. Although avoiding triggers of anxiety maybe your first reaction, working through what is causing the anxiety creates a longer lasting solution in the long run.
Any advice for us as moms to offer our children emotional support?
Open communication during these times is the key to help decrease the feeling of fear. Continue to reassure our children that this is a temporary time. It is very difficult for children to understand why their lives have change so continue to provide them with reassurance that is not forever is important. Try to continue a daily routine; most kids strive better in environment of consistency. Take time out to create family activities and new memories during this time with your children.
You can find Dr. Rose Dillon on Instagram @drrose34