[5 MIN READ]
In this article:
Big changes can cause big stress.
Everyone needs help from time to time -- there’s no shame in asking for help or accepting it when offered.
It’s no surprise that many Americans are struggling with the many challenges of today’s new world. We’re facing social unrest, a global health crisis, political division and economic issues. Juggling these competing concerns is taking its toll.
During this time, it’s important to stay committed to your physical, mental and social wellbeing. That includes asking for help when you need it and looking out for your neighbors.
We’ve pulled together a few ways to deal with uncertainty and cope with difficult situations. We hope this can help bring strength to you and others in your community.
Build your resilience
You are not alone. Others in the community are facing similar struggles and worries. But, that doesn’t make it any less difficult to navigate this complex time. One way to cope is to build your resilience. And it’s easier than it sounds.
“Resilience is your ability to face and manage challenges. That may be from job loss, relationship issues or navigating new rules for simple errands like going to the grocery store,” explains Tavia Hatfield, director of community health investments at Covenant Health.
Here are a few ways you to build resilience and manage uncertainty:
- Stay connected with family and friends. Schedule weekly phone calls or video chats with the people closest to you.
- Find ways to do your favorite activities outside. Research indicates that being outdoors may reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19. Taking a book to a park, gardening in your front yard or riding a bike around your neighborhood are all activities that allow you to see people (without having to be too close) and can make you feel less lonely.
- Keep a journal. A journal can provide an outlet for your emotions and even help you cope with the feelings of grief.
- Stick to your routine. When things seem upside down, a routine can bring a little structure and normalcy. Get up and go to bed at the same time every night, even when you’re working from home. And try to eat at the same times throughout the day. You’ll be surprised at how these little choices can help make things feel (almost) normal.
- Limit news and social media. It’s important to stay up to date on what’s happening in the community. It also helps to maintain connections with friends on social media. But, endless scrolling can lead to a downward spiral of stress, worry and anxiety. Limit your time online if you find yourself getting worked up about the posts you see. Many phones have settings that allow you to set a specific time limit for social media or other apps.
- Try new things. Many people have taken up new hobbies during local and statewide stay at home orders. Challenge yourself to try something new. It can be a new recipe, a new hobby or (safely) exploring a new part of your town.
- Stay active. Exercise helps boost your mood. It can even help you feel more connected to others. Sign up for a virtual exercise class, take a hike on nearby trails or workout with a friend over Zoom. Your body and mind will get a much-needed boost of endorphins.
Take care of your physical, mental and spiritual health
Months into COVID-19, you know the importance of protecting your physical health. Eat healthy. Get plenty of rest. Stay on top of doctor’s appointments. These steps help reduce your risk of getting COVID-19, and even colds and the flu. [insert link to cold + flu blog]
But as the battle of threats to your physical health continues on, the “second curve” of the global pandemic is forming. The second curve refers to the strain of the pandemic on your mental health.
Because of this, it’s important to focus on what you can control. Take care of your own mental health. If you or a loved one is struggling, reach out for help. There are many great resources, including virtual visits with a Covenant mental health provider and the Covenant Outreach Counseling Center.
The Texas statewide COVID-19 mental health support hotline is a free resource that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 833-986-1919.
StarCare also offers a COVID-19 mental health and information hotline for people experiencing stress or anxiety. It connects callers with much-needed need resources. It is available Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 806-740-1450.
Get involved in your community
Helping your community during times of crisis can strengthen bonds with others and improve your physical and mental health. Volunteers provide critical resources and support for people in need. And research shows that volunteerism can positively impact your mental and physical health.
“Read to seniors, send them mail or find another simple, low-risk activity,” encourages Tavia. “There are so many different ways to give – through your time, money or resources. Find an organization or cause you’re passionate about and look for ways that make sense for you to support them.”
Ask for help when you need it
COVID-19 has often been called the “great unmasker.” It has shown the health and social inequities that unfairly affect the poor, elderly, communities of color and immigrants. You are not alone and other people are feeling the same way as you are. There’s no reason to be embarrassed to ask for help.
“There are great organizations that we partner with that are working hard to support people in our community,” Tavia says. “If you need a little help, please ask for it. We’re here for you.”
Tavia shares just a few of the organizations that Covenant Health regularly partners with in the local community.
Food pantry support
Job loss and unemployment are at record highs. When a family member loses income, it can be extremely difficult to make ends meet. If you or someone you know is facing food insecurity, these organizations can help.
South Plains Food Bank: Food boxes are loaded directly into cars.
Kingdom Come Ministries: Mobile food pantry delivers food to those in need.
Salvation Army: Hope Totes include hygiene products and food boxes.
Many families are juggling children’s educational needs along with work responsibilities. And, in some cases, the support individuals rely on to manage a chronic disease isn’t always available. Fortunately, you can still find help.
Covenant Health Outreach: Free telephone health and diabetes education sessions are available.
Lubbock Independent School District: Free online learning opportunities are available, including online digital books, free WI-FI access spots and Chromebooks.
Tavia also reminds parents that local libraries are another great resource for learners of all ages. “Many of our libraries are hosting Facebook live sessions that include story times, arts and crafts. Adults can also take advantage of services like resume help, book clubs and much more.”
The help you need is a phone call or click away
There are many organizations in our community that are prepared to help meet the needs of residents, including those listed below:
- Catholic Charities
- Lubbock Impact
- Larry Combest Community Health Center
- Lubbock Children’s Health Clinic
- St. Benedict’s
- Plainview YMCA
- Family Promise
- Lubbock Volunteer Center
- United Way
Find a doctor
You can also search here to find community resources in your area.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.