Coming Out of Social Isolation
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and April was National Stress Awareness Month, but -- let’s be honest -- we could label the year 2020 as the Mental Health and Stress Year! For many of us, going through such major upheavals in a short period has put our mental health to the test.
Now many of us are slowly returning to the lives we had from months ago. If you're feeling apprehension about returning to your old activities, you are not alone. More than half of all employees are worried about returning to work. Your fears may be understandable, but they don’t need to overwhelm you. The following are a few techniques to help you do the things you need to do.
Managing Fears and Staying Safe
Be Alert, Not Anxious
Being alert can help you make responsible decisions. Avoiding crowded spaces, walking away from individuals who are coughing or sneezing, and remembering to wash your hands takes alertness. However, when you are anxious, your mind becomes preoccupied with its worries. You might be thinking about all the events that could happen. And not focus on what is already happening in front of you.
Learn About Appropriate Safety Measures
Be very selective about where you obtain your health information. The web can be filled with misinformation, but you must receive the most accurate information that you can get. If you have questions about the factual content of your health information, consult with your healthcare provider. Or visit official medical websites. Having the best information possible will make you feel more confident and keep you safe.
Follow Your State Guidelines
A country like the United States is vast, and what’s happening in one state may not apply to another. It’s important to follow your state guidelines when you’re beginning to return to your daily activities. Being knowledgeable and following instructions will keep you and your loved ones safe as everyone begins to interact again.
Wearing a Face Mask
No one enjoys wearing a face mask! Not even healthcare workers. Whether or not people realize it, a face mask can foster a sense of anxiety. Unless you’ve had to wear face masks for work or a hobby, having a covering over your nose and face can be a new sensation. When you initially place a mask on your face, you might feel like you can’t breathe. Unless you have an actual breathing condition, this is usually not the case. You can breathe, but the feeling will be different in a mask. It may take time to get used to it.
If you have to take off your mask in public because of anxiety, remove it when you’re far away from other people and place it in a paper bag. You can also use CalmiGo to help train you to breathe calmly, which may even make using a mask easier to tolerate.
Remember that face masks not only protect you from others, but they are more critical at protecting other people. Individuals can be sick without any symptoms at any time, so it's for the safety of your community...not just for yourself. We're all in this together.