Tips for Coping With Pandemic Trauma, Stress and Depression

Though the novel coronavirus reached U.S. shores in January 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t significantly affect most people’s lives until March. Then, schools, professional sports leagues, major attractions and international travel shut down nearly overnight. As the one-year pandemic anniversary approaches, you might find yourself dealing with more mental health challenges than usual. Here are some strategies you can try to manage your emotional ups and downs.

1. Give Yourself Permission to Express Your Emotions

The pandemic might make you feel a sense of grief, even if you haven’t lost any loved ones to COVID-19. Perhaps your inability to see family and friends in person has damaged your relationships with people you care about, or you’re one of the many people who lost your job amid the widespread shutdowns.

If you find yourself reflecting on the past year with sadness or a heavy heart, remind yourself that those emotions are valid. Cultural norms encourage us to hide any pain we feel and present ourselves as if we’ve “got it all together,” but if the past year has taught us anything, it’s that it’s OK to not be OK.

2. Follow Bad News With Something Positive

Around-the-clock news and social media coverage can be challenging to avoid, even if you take steps to limit your exposure to the daily headlines. If you aren’t careful, one breaking news alert could suck you into a spiral of doomscrolling and negativity. When you find yourself dwelling on depressing or disheartening thoughts, do your best to chase the gloom away by doing something that lifts your spirits, like listening to upbeat music, meditating or listing things you feel grateful for.

3. Take a Mental Health Day

Chronic stress can bring a host of physical health problems like insomnia, body aches, high blood pressure, disordered thinking, indigestion and nausea. If it’s time to bring your physical, mental and emotional health back into balance, take a day (or more) off to devote to self-care. Listen to your body and tune in to any cues that you might need a break from your daily worries.

4. Find a Therapist

The pandemic has probably upended your life in ways you never anticipated, and you might need extra support to process your feelings. If you are carrying a heavy burden of stress and anxiety, consider enlisting the help of a trained counselor. Therapists can give you a judgment-free space to express yourself and receive the validation you need. You can research teletherapy options or an online support group for others who are experiencing similar struggles.

You Are Never Alone

The COVID-19 has highlighted the need for more mental health resources and social support systems at every level of society. If stressors and long-term trauma have made it challenging for you to focus on maintaining your sobriety, you may find your solution in a sober living home. At Segue Recovery Support, we’ve structured our recovery residences to provide a high level of accountability in a comfortable environment. Contact us today to learn more about whether sober housing is right for you.