How to protect our mental health at this difficult time
By Keilli Trottier, UCS Youth and Family Services Clinical Manager
During times of uncertainty and change, many people will experience anxiety and stress. Add in social distancing and quarantine and mental health could quickly fly out of control. However, there are ways to help protect our mental health and the mental health of children as we continue to face COVID-19 and the fall outs from this.
- Limit Media- Continuous use of the internet and watching the news with all the uncertainty, change and misinformation will increase anxiety and stress. While we want to stay up to date on the facts, there is no need to be on news sites or scrolling through other internet resources 24/7.
- Use Technology to connect to others- Technology has advanced so that we can stay connected through a phone call, text, message, facetime, zoom, and Google Duo and all without breaking social distancing recommendations of staying 6 feet or more from others. Seeing others virtually face to face can help ease isolation and allow for connection.
- Look after your physical health- Continue to ensure regular sleeping and eating patterns. Take medications as prescribed and ensure that you are getting regular physical activity. Taking care of your physical health helps to maintain mental health
- Set a routine- particularly with children home from schools and daycare or families working from home, it is important to set up daily routines. Children and adults feel less anxiety and stress when they know what to expect and have some predictability. This will ease emotional reactivity from children that may struggle more with transitions and change.
- Get outside- social distancing doesn’t allow for playdates and indoor use of recreation facilities. However, we live in an area with lots of parks, trails, back yards, mountains etc. Take a walk, explore with your children, play outside. Fresh air and exercise help to ease mental health symptoms as well as allow for more space for families that are home together.
- Utilize natural ways to teach children at home. Homeschooling children can feel overwhelming and a daunting task. Use alternative ways to learn such as cooking, exploring, games, art projects, science projects to both have fun and provide opportunity for learning. Remember young children learn best through play.
- Have Fun- Read, play a game, do a project, laugh, share a joke. Make time in your routines to just enjoy the little things in your life. Find a positive to each day. Often, we can sink into a rut and struggle to get out of it.
- Contact your local mental health provider if you are feeling overwhelmed or if your anxiety is feeling more like panic, you feel depressed, or experience other symptoms of increased mental health issues that can be eased through a conversation with a trained provider.
Keilli Trottier is the Clinical Manager of Youth and Family Services at UCS. United Counseling Service (UCS), located in Bennington, and a member of the Vermont Care Partners’ statewide network of sixteen non-profit community-based agencies providing mental health, substance use, and intellectual and developmental disability services and support.
is a private, non-profit community mental health center that has played an essential part of Bennington County’s integrated healthcare system since 1958. The organization has been designated as a Center of Excellent by Vermont Care Partners. UCS promotes healthy lifestyles through all its programs and offers care at 15 different facilities, including two primary outpatient facilities in Bennington and Manchester. UCS provides outpatient counseling and addictions services, emergency mental health services, extensive rehabilitation services, home and school-based services, employment services for people recovering from mental illness or with developmental disabilities and Early Childhood Services. For more information about UCS visit www.ucsvt.org.
A collaboration of the Vermont Care Partners’ statewide network of sixteen non-profit community-based agencies providing mental health, substance use, and intellectual and developmental disability services and support.