As Four Corners residents remain under some form of a stay-at-home order for the next several weeks, you may find yourself feeling stressed about the coronavirus outbreak and what the future holds.
Feeling uncertain is just one of the normal responses to a high-stress situation, according to Shelley Millsap, a behavioral health manager at Axis Health System.
Even if you don’t have access to certain mental health services at this time, like talking with a therapist, there are still other ways to stay mindful and aware of your needs. Axis has a coronavirus resources page that includes links to free help and information, like talking about mental health with kids.
Millsap spoke with KSJD to share advice for keeping yourself well while staying at home for this extended period. Hear the full interview and read highlights of her tips below.
Stress is normal - and disconnecting from the news can help
Feeling overwhelmed, fearful or anxious are all feelings that are expected during times of high stress.
“Everyone reacts to stress in different ways,” Millsap said. “Any response that you have is normal and expected.”
Millsap recommends setting aside your electronics an hour before bed. That’s even more important during a time of heavy, frequent news updates.
“While that is helpful to stay informed, taking a break from that bombardment is a good thing for your health,” Millsap said.
Find an activity to take your mind off things
Whether it’s meditating, watching movies, exercising or spring cleaning, directing your attention in a task or activity is a great way to unwind, Millsap said. Everyone will have their own preferences, so find something that works for you.
You could also take up a new hobby or work on improving a skill. Staying connected with loved ones - whether you’re living together or communicating virtually - is important, too.
“It’s definitely energy well spent,” Millsap said. “I like to think of it as a little mental vacation.”
Remember what you’re feeling will not last forever
Uncertainty goes against the human spirit, Millsap said. But don’t let that get in the way of addressing immediate needs.
“We like a beginning, middle and end. And we don’t really have that clearly defined for us right now,” Millsap said. “However, we do know that this heightened level of stress is not permanent.”
She suggests taking a deep breath, asking yourself what you need in this moment, and finding happiness in its answer.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call Axis’ 24/7 local hotline at 970-247-5245.
Colorado Crisis Services has a hotline at 1-844-493-8255, or text TALK to 38255. CCS also has online chat available at coloradocrisisservices.org.