Tips to keep in mind for anxiety, stress management

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While we are receiving a lot of information around current events related to the public health emergency, it’s equally important to keep in mind the following tips for managing anxiety or stress.  Overall, know that we are going to get through this challenging time, and we’re going to get through it together.

  • Don’t overwhelm yourself with media. Constant exposure to news coverage with the same information can cause you to feel anxious or distress.
    • Get information only from trusted sources
    • Seek updates at specific times during the day, once or twice.
    • Get the facts; not the rumors and misinformation.
  • For health workers, feeling under pressure is a likely experience for you and many of your health worker colleagues. It is quite normal to feel stressed in the current situation.
    • Stress and the feelings associated with it are by no means a reflection that you cannot do your job or that you are weak.
  • Take care of yourself.
    • Attending to your mental health and psychosocial well-being is as important as managing your physical health.
    • Don’t underestimate the benefits of helpful coping strategies including getting sufficient rest and respite during work or between shifts, eating regularly and trying to select healthy foods, engaging in physical activity, and staying in contact with family and friends.
    • Beware of the dangers of using unhelpful coping strategies such as tobacco, alcohol or other drugs. In the long term, these can worsen your mental and physical well-being and make the stresses of the current situation worse.
    • This is a unique and unprecedented scenario for many workers, particularly if they have not been involved in similar responses. Even so, use strategies that have worked for you in the past to manage stress.
    • If you are an individual who is recovering for an alcohol or drug addiction, find virtual/on-line meetings and other ways to connect and get the support you need to maintain your recovery.
    • Remember that this is not a sprint; it’s a marathon – pace yourself with the goal of finishing strong.
  • Social distancing does not mean social disconnection.
    • Consider using digital methods to stay connected with your loved ones – phone calls, texts, emails and video chats are all options to consider.
    • Some healthcare workers may feel the need to avoid contact with at-risk family members or be avoided by other family or community members due to stigma or fear – take the lead in showing them how you can stay connected and still be safe.
    • Turn to, and be available to, your colleagues, your manager or other trusted persons for social support – your colleagues may be having similar experiences to you.
  • If you, or a patient you are caring for, need mental health support, please know that Citizen Advocates is a resource. They can be contacted by calling 518-483-3261, which is available 24 hours a day, to request contact with a counselor and for support during a behavioral health crisis.
    • The stigma associated with mental health problems may cause reluctance to seek support for both COVID-19 and mental health conditions. Your willingness to respectfully and compassionately offer support and resources can have a significant impact.