Disclosure :: This post is sponsored by Our Lady of the Lake and written by Dr. L. Lee Tynes.
A Perfect Storm for Stress
The COVID-19 pandemic came ashore in Louisiana like a hurricane, but it has stuck around and continues to alter what our new normal looks like.
When the pandemic first struck, instead of boarding up windows and stacking sandbags, we were social distancing and getting used to wearing masks.
We’re pretty good at weathering storms in Louisiana, but this one didn’t go away in a day. Just when our reopening began to pick up steam, COVID-19 started spreading again.
The number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital is climbing. Add to that South Louisiana’s annual hurricane worries and we’re coping with the kind of prolonged strain that for some, might lead to loss of sleep, unhealthy eating, inactivity, isolation, neglecting our physical or mental health, or substance use. Avoiding those unwanted responses starts with recognizing that we’re under excessive stress and can take some simple steps to help manage it.
The American Psychiatric Association, which works with mental and behavioral health providers nationwide, offers some useful tips and reminders for coping with stress.
- Stay informed and be proactive. Keep up with infection prevention guidelines like wearing a mask in public, social distancing and frequent hand washing.
- Develop and maintain balance in your routines. As well as managing work, schedule time for relaxation, time to go out and time to reconnect with friends and family, using technology if necessary.
- Take breaks from social media and news. Pay attention to credible sources of news and information, but from time to time take a break to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- If you’re a parent, listen to your children. Regardless of their age or what their questions or concerns are, the most important thing you can do is make sure they know they’re being heard, and that the adults in their lives are doing all they can to keep them safe and healthy.
If you or someone in your family is in distress or having persistent trouble functioning, contact your primary care provider for help. Physicians, therapists and counselors are trained to help you cope. Or, call LSU-Our Lady of the Lake’s outpatient psychiatric clinic for an appointment at (225) 374-0400.
Dr. L. Lee Tynes, medical director for mental and behavioral health at Our Lady of the Lake, is Board certified in psychiatry and internal medicine. Tom Guarisco in the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System marketing department contributed to this blog.