Posted on May 6, 2020 at 10:41 AM by Nancy McCormick
May is mental health awareness month, and with the fear and uncertainty about COVID-19, there is never a better time to focus on your mental health.
Fear and uncertainty can cause strong emotions in children and adults and can manifest in more ways than you might think. Normal reactions to fear and uncertainty include:
Take care of yourself, your friends and your family by identifying and using coping strategies that work for you. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.
- Anxiety, Increased worry
- Not wanting to be separated from loved ones
- Irritability, anger
- Fatigue, exhaustion
- Sadness, crying
- Changes in appetite or sleep patterns, including nightmares
- Inability to concentrate, frequent errors, difficulty making decisions
- Confusion, forgetfulness
- Physical complaints, diarrhea
- New or increased use of tobacco products, alcohol or other drugs
Be mindful of your exposure to information
Get up-to-date information from trusted sources. You can find information from Loudoun County at Loudoun.gov/coronavirus. Make sure you have access to media but limit excessive exposure. If you’re feeling anxious, consider turning off social media feeds, automatic notifications and updates on COVID-19.
Identify feelings and talk about them
Identify the feelings you are experiencing. Understand that your feelings are normal and talk about them with others. Be sure not to isolate yourself. Personal relationships are crucial in maintaining perspective, elevating mood and allowing distraction away from concerns that trouble us. Combat loneliness and keep talking by phone or video chat.
Keep healthy habits
Stay healthy by maintaining a routine, sleeping regularly, eating right, avoiding alcohol and other drugs, exercising, relaxing and doing things you enjoy. Laugh, have fun and let yourself cry. Deep breathing exercises or anti-stress stretches may help you stay calm. Instructions for breathing exercises and stretches are available here.
Ask for help when you need it
If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others, 24/7 help is available.
Loudoun County encourages residents to stay informed about COVID-19.
- Visit loudoun.gov/coronavirus for more information about how to protect yourself and your family and to sign up for email and text updates on COVID-19.
- Text LCCOVID19 to 888777 to receive text alerts from Loudoun County about COVID-19.
- Text LCCOVIDESP to 888777 to receive text messages in Spanish from Loudoun County about COVID-19.
Residents with questions about COVID-19 may call the Loudoun County Health Department’s information line, 703-737-8300, or send an email