Coping with the COVID-19 pandemic can be stressful for you and your family, but there are measures you can take to help make this time easier. Thibodaux Regional Health System is here to help you navigate these times. It’s important to remember everyone responds to stress differently, but no matter the response, it is key for everyone to take proactive measures.
Symptoms of stress include worrying about your health and the health of your loved ones; changes in sleep or eating patterns; difficulty sleeping or concentrating; worsening of chronic health problems and increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.
Taking care of friends and family can help you cope with stress. However, with social distancing, that’s harder to do right now in the traditional ways. Think about using video conferencing or Face Time to see your loved ones. Make a goal to connect with someone through technology every day, especially if you live alone. If you have family members or friends who live by themselves, set up a call chain amongst your loved ones so that someone checks in on that person each day.
Thibodaux Regional experts also say it is crucial to take care of one’s self right now, mentally and physically. While knowledge is power, it is very easy to consume too much media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Find a balance between keeping up with the latest news and warnings, while also taking care not to ingest a never-ending diet of coronavirus news. Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to the coverage, including social media posts. Your brain and your nerves need a break from being stimulated and concerned, as much as possible.
Setting and achieving small goals right now can also help one feel productive and useful. Make a list of some of the things you’ve put off doing at home, such as re-arranging a closet, cleaning out the toys your children have outgrown or making a family tree. These tasks can be done solo or with others living in your home. Perhaps it will help your children have a sense of purpose to decide which toys they can part with so that less fortunate little ones have something new to play with, or you can call a grandparent to help put together your family tree.
When it comes to your physical health, don’t forget to take care of your body. Right now, while everyone is sitting home all day every day for the most part, it can be easy to slip into bad habits. One may think it doesn’t matter because you have nowhere to be at a certain time and are quarantined, but you don’t want to do anything to weaken your immune system right now. To keep your body strong, make sure you’re eating well-balanced meals and avoiding the overuse of alcohol. Now is the perfect time to try some new recipes. Check out these delicious, but healthy suggestions from Thibodaux Regional Sports and Fitness Dietician Lilli Rozanski, MS, RDN, LDN:
Recipe – Skillet Spaghetti
Recipe – Black Bean Turkey Chili
Recipe – Chicken Quinoa Fried Rice
Recipe – Broccoli Avocado Tuna Bowl
Try to keep your same routine when it comes to rest: get up and go to sleep at normal times. Your body repairs itself during REM and Deep Sleep stages, much more so than during light sleep. The best way to get your body into those restorative sleep cycles is to keep on a schedule, otherwise your body may skip or shorten those all-important stages.
Finally, exercise is crucial right now. Get outside for a walk, stretch, meditate or go for a bike ride. There are also numerous at-home workouts on social media and the internet. Thibodaux Regional’s Fitness Center is closed due to safety precautions, but we’re still with you online! Click here https://www.fitnesscenterofthibodauxregional.com/services/group-exercise to enjoy one of our group classes complimentary. We have Body Pump, Body Combat, Yoga, Spinning, Barre, HIIT and more.
In addition, the Louisiana Department of Health’s Office of Behavioral Health has established a 24-hour hotline at 1-866-310-7977 to help people cope with the emotions and stress they may be experiencing at this time. The Keep Calm through COVID hotline is available seven days a week, and all calls are confidential.