By the Office of Behavioral Health Prevention Team
During these uncertain times, heightened stress levels and increased anxiety are typical for some. COVID-19 has forced everyone to adjust to a “new normal,” making us change the way we interact with loved ones, friends and even co-workers, through physical distancing, staying at home and even self-isolation.
We’re all in this “new normal” boat together. When you feel like you’re adrift in self-isolation and physical distancing, the Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health is here to help you stay afloat. Here are a few things to pack away in your mental health toolkit.
I’m feeling overwhelmed with stress, uncertainty, fear or anxiety. Is there someone I can talk to?
These are all normal responses to an uncertain or threatening event. You can call the Keep Calm through COVID line at 1-866-310-7977. This phone line is available 24/7 and all calls are confidential. The Keep Calm through COVID line connects you to trained, compassionate counselors who can offer support and who can direct you to mental health and substance use counseling services.
Stress is inevitable, but I really need a way to let go of some steam. Will drinking alcohol help to ease some of this stress and anxiety?
Alcohol is addictive and can be toxic. In higher amounts or when consumed with certain medications or by those with certain health conditions, relying on alcohol to relieve stress is not advised. Instead, use other stress reduction techniques and practices like exercise (as approved by your doctor), getting enough sleep (about eight hours a night for most adults), and relaxation techniques like meditation/mindfulness and structure-breathing exercises, listening to calming music, reading, etc.
I am in recovery, but this event is difficult to deal with. During this COVID-19 event, what are some ways I can stay above the influence?
Especially during times such as these, experiencing high stress levels and increasing anxiety is common, and maintaining sobriety can be challenging. Here are some helpful tools you can use to help you cope and maintain your sobriety while practicing the recommended physical distancing:
- Reflect on your journey and your successes
- Maintain your current support system through social media outreach
- Get active! Dance, walk, run, practice yoga … engage in physical movement
- Stay connected through video chat programs such as FaceTime and Skype
- Meditate; create a calming environment
- Download apps that offer peer support and counseling
- Attend virtual church, faith-based or support services if applicable
- Read or listen to an online book
- Listen to a podcast
- Seek out virtual support meetings online or by phone. Here are some suggestions: