by Jakini Adisa, Pine Knolls Neighbor
It’s a brand new situation for everyone, I tell my mom. At 101, she struggles to make sense of the news, the science behind the epidemic, what to do, and how to respond.
Officially, the crisis is less than five months old; however, for most of us it feels much longer. We have all been made aware of how to lessen the spread of the virus through masks, hand washing, etc. But how do we lessen the effects of sheltering in place (quarantining) on our emotional wellbeing?
Here are some proven methods to stay emotionally grounded:
- Take care of your physical health- keep up with appointments and medications.
- Exercise- exercise daily to stay active and fit.
- Eat right- limit snacks and foods with empty calories.
- Hobbying- work on a scrapbook, write, draw or paint, garden.
- Communicate- talk to friends and relatives; it’s a great time to talk to connect with old friends.
- Relaxation techniques- deep breathing, prayer and meditation.
- Brain exercises – keep your mind sharp with word games, sudoku, jigsaw puzzles.
- Expectations- give yourself something to look forward to each day.
- Help and support others.
As we adjust to this new normal remember that during this time it’s okay to be angry, but don’t let it take a hold. Monitoring how much time you spend watching, reading or listening to the news also helps, as well as choosing trustworthy news sources such as PBS news. Also consider limiting how much time is spent talking about the virus and possible outcomes.
Some of the symptoms to look out for in ourselves, our children, and loved ones during this time are:
-muscle tension and/or unusual aches and pains
-changes in sleep patterns
-withdrawing from friends and family
-changes in appetite
-loss of interest in activities or hobbies
-ongoing feelings of sadness or emptiness
If you can’t shake one or more of these symptoms, resources are available for assistance:
COVID-19 phone line: 866-462-3821
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service (SAMHSA) National Helpline:1-800-662-HELP (4357)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): (866) 615-6464
Crisis Text Line: Text CONNECT to 741741
Other possibilities for assistance include your church or religious organization and consulting with your doctor or therapist.
In the spirit of protecting and preserving our emotional wellbeing, let’s remember to be kind to ourselves, considerate of those around us, and remain calm and centered as we chart the unknown territories of the Covid-19 crises. Most of all, let’s keep in mind that although we are physically distant, as a Northside Community, we are all in this together.
Ms. Adisa’s gorgeous zinnias brings joy to passers-by in her Pine Knolls neighborhood.