Posted by Summer Katz, MA, LMHC
Information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has undoubtedly and reasonably caused heightened levels of stress, anxiety and concern among the global population. People with chronic medical concerns are already impacted by circumstances outside of their control and therefore can have higher incidences of depression and anxiety. With the recent and sudden news of this COVID-19 health pandemic, it is easy to be impacted by the panic, worrying more significantly about the state of your health.
However, it is also very important to consider the sources where we may be getting our information. In addition to the various coping suggestions available through the reliable sources, it is beneficial to know that counseling services continue to be widely available.
Many counselors are offering alternate telehealth services, just as some medical offices and facilities may be offering telehealth options during this crucial time while social distancing and emergency stay-at-home orders are in effect. If you have health insurance, you may find that your policy actually allows for telehealth at a lower-cost or no-cost copay / cost-of-share benefit.
I would like to encourage you to not ignore your mental and emotional health needs at this time. The concept of the mind-body connection certainly applies to how we are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that what your mind is experiencing may have an impact on how you are feeling physically and vice versa. If are a chronic health patient already, you certainly know the impact of how the physical symptoms can often create or even amplify emotional triggers. Many go-to coping suggestions often include the importance of good self-care. So, while you are staying at home, make plans to engage in some of the things that you normally might feel like there is not enough time to do…
Take a brisk walk or ride a bicycle. Call or video chat with a friend. Pull out a cook book to make a fun recipe. Spend purposeful time with your loved ones and with your pets. Listen to your favorite music or podcast.
Take in the sunrise or sunset. Read an enjoyable book. Consider yoga or meditation: pay attention to your breathing and engage in slow gentle breaths, calmly guiding yourself to breathe in and out, in and out… aaaahhh. Create a positive or affirmative mantra that brings you comfort such as, “I am confident,” “I will get through this,” “All will be well,” or, “May I be happy and healthy.”
Considering the varying options to utilize during this phase, I would highly encourage you to be aware of your mental health state. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, there are certainly healthy coping strategies as well as unhealthy options.
If you recognize a heightened level of concern, which you are having difficulty navigating on your own, or it is leading you to emotionally isolate or utilize substances to cope…. please do not hesitate to reach out to a trusted family member or friend for support, speak with a counseling professional, or certainly call a crisis hotline if you are experiencing suicidal ideation or thoughts of harm.
I am certainly available to offer you guidance on finding the best resources available for you in your hometown. Please feel free to reach out to me via phone or email (see below). May you, your family and your loved ones be safe and remain healthy during this uncertain time.
Summer Katz, M.A., LMHC
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Cystic Fibrosis Pharmacy Patient Advocate
Office Phone: 407-898-4427 ext. 1005 or 888-307-4427
*Disclaimer: This blog is provided for informational purposes only (including brief topic exploration or reflection) and should not be used as a substitute for professional mental health or medical treatment. **All listed resources have been identified for supplemental reading only, and the Cystic Fibrosis Pharmacy nor Summer Katz, M.A., LMHC is neither affiliated nor endorsing the aforementioned published material.