COVID-19: Maintaining Your Mental Health
Illinois Call4Calm Text Line
If you or a loved one are struggling with stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic and need emotional support, text TALK to 552020 for English or HABLAR for Spanish. This service is free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People seeking assistance will remain anonymous and will provide only their first name and zip code, which enables the service to link you to a counselor in your area who is knowledgeable about available local resources.
During these uncertain times, life can feel completely disrupted. Things seem confused and sense of time may be lost. You may feel vulnerable and helpless. Sleep patterns may be disrupted, and you may feel tired all the time. Emotional “numbness” may continue as a means of coping with what is happening. As the scope of the impact of the coronavirus becomes more apparent, you may feel overwhelmed and even angry.
Signs of stress:
- Physical complaints
- Sleep disturbance
- Lack of concentration
- Loss of Appetite
Recognizing these emotions and reactions helps you to better understand your experience and deal with them. In time…we will recover.
What can you do?
- Eat well. Even if you don’t want to. Eat food that has nutritional quality. The reaction to stress can lower your energy level, and now more than ever you need to remain strong.
- Get some exercise. It is especially important to get some physical exercise even during the Shelter-In-Place order. Exercise helps relieve stress. Even a short walk can help.
- Get enough rest. You can’t do everything, even if you feel like you can. Don’t burn yourself out. If sleeping at night is difficult, try drinking juice or milk. Reading or watching TV can help, too.
- Talk to someone. Keeping your feelings inside prolongs the healing process. Share your thoughts and feelings with someone else. Allow others to help you.
- Limit your media access, including social media, news outlets.
- Get your information from reputable sources. Click here to go to our COVID-19 Information Resource page.
- If you are experiencing emotional distress, call our Crisis Services at 630-627-1700. Additional coping resources can be found at the www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
- For more information and resources, visit the the Mental Health First Aid website at: https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/2020/03/how-to-bethedifference-for-people-with-mental-health-concerns-during-covid-19/
Remember, your emotional response to COVID-19 is NORMAL. If symptoms continue to worsen, get the help of a professional to assist you in the process.
Stress responses in kids
Just like adults, each child reacts differently to stress. Some kids might want to talk about, while others may not. What’s important is to give them an opportunity to talk about that they are feeling. It’s ok to follow their lead. Focus on speaking calmly and reassuringly.
Common signs of stress in younger children might include:
- Bed wetting
- Thumb sucking
- Excessive fear of the dark
- Increase in immature behavioral
- Increase in aggressive behavior or shyness
- Change in eating
Give your child information which can be easily understood. Most importantly, give a lot of reassurance to your child. The family is the best source of help and comfort for your child.
There are a number of resources to help guide parents and caregivers to support the emotional well-being of children:
- CDC, Talking with children about COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/talking-with-children.html
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has a useful guide to provide information about COVID-19. https://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/resources/fact-sheet/outbreak_factsheet_1.pdf