Peace during uncertainty: Finding ways to maintain mental health during a pandemic

Peace during uncertainty: Finding ways to maintain mental health during a pandemic

With 90 percent of the U.S. population (about 298 million people) currently under a “stay at home” order, it is accurate to say that we are a nation under isolation right now. And while isolating is the right thing to do from a public health perspective, it can be very difficult in a variety of ways, including mentally and emotionally. “During this unprecedented time people are experiencing many heightened emotions such as fear, sadness, anxiety, emotional detachment, numbness, anger, and loneliness to name a few,” explains Anastacia Knight, MSW, Social Outreach Program Coordinator with Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation. Knight says in addition to emotional changes, people also may be experiencing physical changes such as appetite increase or decrease, sleep issues, and somatic or body feelings like aches or pains that aren’t typical for them. And if a person already has a mental or physical health concern or disability, these feelings or symptoms may be amplified right now. “People may also be noticing their thinking has been affected,” Knight says. “They may have more difficulty remembering things, making decisions, and have trouble concentrating. It is important to remember that for most people these are signs of stress and can be seen as a fairly normal response to all of the changes and stressors we are coping with currently.” Knight explains that our often intense emotional reaction to being isolated is rooted in primal biology. Humans, she explains, are social creatures with a need for connection. The inability to meet this need creates a ...
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