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While focusing on your physical health during COVID-19, Shirkey Health Services reminds you to also take the time to care for your emotional and mental health for your overall wellbeing. We hope you can make time to give yourself and others a little extra care, kindness and compassion. We’re here for you!

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has these recommendations to relieve stress and anxiety. To learn more about CDC recommendations for adults, first responders and children, click here.

Things you can do to support yourself:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take deep breaths and sigh it out (make the noise!) to release tension in the body. Slow, deep breaths activate your sympathetic nervous system, the system responsible for calm and rest.
  • Exercise, stretch or meditate.
  • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Do some activities you enjoy for positive experiences. Ramp up the little things that bring you joy, like fishing, snuggling with your fur babies or reading some fiction.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Reach out. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

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 call:

  • 911
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (For the hearing impaired: TTY 1-800-846-8517)

Look out for these common signs of distress:

  • Feelings of numbness, disbelief, anxiety or fear.
  • Changes in appetite, energy and activity levels.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Difficulty sleeping or nightmares, upsetting thoughts and images.
  • Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems and skin rashes.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems.
  • Anger or short-temper.
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

If you experience these feelings or behaviors for several days in a row and are unable to carry out normal responsibilities because of them, please seek professional help, or call the federal distress helpline, 1-800-985-5990.