By Caitlin Goodwin, Advanced Practice Registered Nurse.
It’s critical to support your mental health and improve your resilience during this worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Here are practical ways to deal with related anxiety apparent in insomnia, symptoms of depression, and anxiety:
Reading inaccurate information is an effective way to cause anxiety! Check the sources you rely on for information about the virus because misinformation is widespread. The sites you read should rely on experts who publish evidence-based science in journals. Safe sources include sources that protect the public:
If you’re concerned about symptoms that may resemble COVID-19, the CDC provides a symptom checker. Reading false data about COVID-19 can cause undue anxiety. However, it is crucial to avoid information overload. Immersing yourself in negative news regarding the virus can further increase your anxiety. [When I had a sinus infection recently, my GP even took the precaution of sending me for a COVID-19 test. Negative result, which reduced my anxiety. The other benefit was it gave me firsthand insight into the testing process! – Kim]
If you have ever had a rough night, you know how frustrating it can be to toss and turn all night. Digital clocks feel very unforgiving at 3 or 4 a.m. Workers employed as professional communicators are known to suffer from insomnia due to workloads and deadline pressures. Even doctors suffer from stress causing insomnia: the American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued a position statement regarding the importance of sleep among doctors to decrease physician burnout. Stress-related insomnia can cause negative outcomes in your personal and professional life.
Those with mild to moderate insomnia can consider practicing better sleep hygiene. Go to bed at the same time and each morning (even on the weekends). Be consistent. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and relaxing. Remove all electronic devices like your television, computer, and smartphone from the bedroom. Eat small meals, avoid caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime. If you work out during the day, you can reduce your stress and improve sleep, according to the CDC.
Some have diagnoses of depression and anxiety from the past. However, in this confusing time, the coronavirus has affected numerous aspects of life- spiritual, work, and social connection. Feeling anxious or down is normal during this time.
Depression can stem from feeling hopeless in the face of the unknown – when will the coronavirus subside? Depression is more than just having a sad day – it’s a clinical diagnosis for those who experience a persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest.
Talk to your primary care provider about being tested for Vitamin D deficiency or thyroid conditions. Vitamin D supplementation can decrease symptoms of sadness, according to the NIH. Patients with autoimmune thyroiditis exhibit an increased risk of depression and anxiety. By treating both of those conditions, you may alleviate some of the symptoms.
If you have a clinical diagnosis of depression or anxiety, reach out to your therapist and continue your medicine regimen. However, if you think your sadness or angst are crossing lines that affect your daily life, reach out to a trained professional. Any thoughts of harming yourself should be immediately addressed by calling the suicide hotline.
Both depression and anxiety can be exacerbated by stressful situations and lack of self-care. If you are looking for solutions, add the following tools in your toolbox to resolve stress.
Being resilient is important in the face of a crisis. Resilience is your coping ability when facing emergencies and wishing to return to pre-crisis status. Psychological resilience means looking at problems as acceptable circumstances or problems that can be changed. There are steps to take to improve your resilience.
If you would like to learn about Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Basic Life Support, and similar courses, you can find details at Pacific Medical Training.
Author of this post
Caitlin Goodwin MSN, CNM is a board-certified Advanced Practice Registered Nurse with more than 12 years of experience as a nurse. She currently works as a Certified Nurse-Midwife for the Cleveland Clinic.
Top image: Artwork of three of the six commercial branding stamps conveying key COVID-19 public health messages produced by the World Health Organisation. These can be used on signage, stationery, etc under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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