COVID-19 has caused a lot of fear and anxiety across the globe.
People are being asked to stay indoors as much as possible to limit possible exposure.
And as we navigate what has become the “new normal” for now, the VI Department of Health (VIDOH) is offering tips to help us all stay sane during this unprecedented time.
This pandemic is all new to all of us, and the uncertainly of it can be overwhelming, so the VI government offers some behavioral and mental health tips to help get us through.
Dr. Nicole A. Craigwell, SYMS, is the Assistant Commissioner with the VI Department of Health.
She says the best thing we can do right now is to not let our imaginations run wild, like thinking of the worst possible outcome with intense dread or fear, “Try your best not to think three to six months out with only negative thoughts and negatives endings to what’s happening today. I encourage to you stay in the moment, stay in the moment within your workplace, within your families, within your health, generally your mind body soul and spirit.”
And when it comes to children, while numbers are showing they’re more resistant to contracting the Coronavirus, mentally and emotionally Dr. Craigwell says they will be much more affected by this entire situation. “The little ones in their homes, all of the days that you put off the Broadway musicals that they wanted to share with you, when you got home from your meetings, all of the little salons that they wanted to open to polish your nails and your toes, and do your hair, allow them. At this point in time allow them let them speak to you, let them read to you, share children-friendly messages about COVID-19 and allow them to give it back to you in ways that they understand, this will open portals of communication. In your teenagers, it is important to recognize changes in behavior this will allow you to speak with your teenagers about COVID-19. Some changes can be loss of appetite, they may seclude themselves, they may lash out in anger, they may cry excessively, these are the behaviors we are encouraging you to recognize and to address.”
The elderly population is most vulnerable to COVID-19, so their anxiety is likely much higher. Check in with them, “Help to take their mind off of what’s happening, and that’s what I mean when I say to stay in the moment.”
The VIDOH also says to try to remain calm, and educated. Use this time to introduce new healthy and fun routines in your homes. Stay educated, but take a break from the deluge of information we’re receiving daily about the Coronaavirus.
Dr. Craigwell suggests to try to remain positive, take this as a chance to try something new or that you haven’t been able to because of busy work schedules, “The little ones look at you, if you panic, they panic. If you cry, they cry, if you’re calm, educated and confident in the way that your home is structured, the little ones will file suit. You want to introduce routines and maintain your home routines, so like I said before introduce things that are fun and allow a break and monotony of the news and social media that can and will influence you to make unsmart decisions if you’re not knowledgeable.”
In addition to these mental health tips, also make sure you’re practicing social distancing, proper hygiene, and staying educated on the latest on COVID-19, as the information is changing daily.
There is a lifeline hotline available to help anybody who may be struggling with behavioral or mental health issues, it’s 1-800-985-5990 and for the hearing impaired -800-799-4889.