May 5, 2020
The Coronavirus pandemic has left us reeling and struggling to keep up with the changes and disruptions in our everyday lives. It will take a concerted effort, by all of us, to remain calm and empathetic to others, considering we are all dealing with continued physical distancing, self-isolation and for some, being quarantined.
Research suggests caring about others is one of the best ways to fight feelings of isolation and gain self-worth. That’s right! Caring about others can help you feel better. The benefits of giving care and support to others for the support giver are often overlooked.
Fear can evoke anxiety and stress for people of all ages and health statuses. “We’re all under some chronic stress right now,” says Dr. Diedra Wuenschel, DO, Coryell Health Clinic Medical Director. “So while you may be keeping your physical distance from others to prevent the spread of the virus, it doesn’t mean you need to be emotionally distant.” A simple phone call or email checking in on friends can go a long way for you both.
It can be easy to become frustrated at the different ways others are handling the crisis. Try to remember everyone copes differently. People may also feel overwhelmed by conflicting information from news sources and social media. Always try to imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes. “While you cannot control how others behave, you can control your own actions and do your part to gently encourage others to wear masks, keep up the physical distancing and only share information from creditable news sources,” recommends Dr. Wuenschel. “Ask for help if you need it, especially if you feel sick or need medical treatment. The only way to get through this is together, everyone doing their part for oneself and others.”
Being empathetic towards our family, friends and neighbors will not only open your mind to what others are experiencing, but it can also provide social connectedness that can help combat feelings of isolation.
To speak with a mental health professional for help dealing with stress and other emotions, please call the toll-free COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line at 833-986-1919. Help can also be found at https://www.mentalhealth.gov/ and https://hhs.texas.gov/services/mental-health-substance-use.