Clenched teeth, locked jaw, tension shooting up my shoulders and neck, feeling heavy as if my legs were glued to the floor, tightness in my low back set in, and finally a pounding headache crashed into my frontal lobes. Stress! My name is Liam, and I’m a junior in the Public Health program at Temple University. Lately I’ve been dwelling on stress (literally). Last semester was full of surprises. I was already late to register for my summer classes, scrambling to find a course before the deadline, all while in the process of moving, losing family to gun violence, not to mention dealing with burnout and vicarious trauma from work. At the top of this long list: social isolation due to the COVID-19 restrictions and recommendations. Tired, worrying I wouldn't get a course in time, I stumbled across one of the remaining courses available: ‘Stress Management’. I assumed it would be about deep breathing, and healthy social networks, which are both important, but instead the course focused more on the mind-body connection and interactivity. This course taught me a lot about myself. As a master procrastinator, I do everything at the very last minute. This is accompanied with awfulizing (constantly worrying about the “what if’s” in life), not to mention the chronic back pain. Stress become that “friend” who always [...]
by Dr. Sosunmolu Shoyinka, Chief Medical Officer, City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) These are stressful and uncertain times. The evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic is very sudden and can be confusing. This may provoke anxiety for many people. Those with pre-existing anxiety and other mental health conditions may be particularly at risk. Individuals and teams whose work bring them in contact with infected persons may experience stress and anxiety. Other groups at risk for increased stress include the elderly, those caring for sick or vulnerable persons, and those experiencing significant changes to work, travel, or family life. Regardless of status or work function, we can anticipate that all of us will at some point experience some increased stress. At times like this, it is important to take steps to promote mental wellness and resilience. DBHIDS aligns with SAMHSA, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychiatric Association to make the following recommendations: Connect with people: Reaching out to people you trust is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety, depression, loneliness, and boredom during social distancing, quarantine, and isolation. Make phone calls frequently, FaceTime, and text to stay connected. Relax: Calm your body often by doing things that work for you—take deep breaths, stretch, meditate, pray, or engage in home-based [...]
In response to COVID-19, BHTEN and DBHIDS Education and Training are hosting a weekly webinar series about adapting to this unforeseen situation. Webinars will be held every Tuesday and Thursday at 1:00 pm via Zoom, beginning Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Initial topics will include: Alcohol Dependence and COVID-19 Implications Stress & Coping during COVID-19 Supporting Children during COVID-19 Coping & Self Care Best Practices for Telecommuting Check back for links to the rest of the upcoming webinars.
In situations such as concern around COVID-19, the Coronavirus, many people experience increased stress, anxiousness and panic. The constant stream of articles being shared on social media and televised news reports can increase feelings of worry and uncertainty. To manage such situations, it is important to: Reference accurate prevention information, and reliable, factual resources such as the World Health Organization, the CDC and the City of Philadelphia in order to distinguish facts from rumors. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories and avoid constant conversation with others about subjects that are distressing. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Seek information at specific times once or twice a day. Maintain a healthy lifestyle - including proper diet, sleep, and exercise. Stay connected with others online or over the phone even if you are maintaining your physical distance. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Distract yourself if feeling anxious, and do things that you enjoy doing. Ask your healthcare provider about tele-therapy or online mental health services if you need support and feel uneasy about attending therapy sessions outside the home. Request an increased supply of prescription medication or refill your medications as soon as they are allowed. Take a moment to review these resources to stay informed and mentally well: From [...]