By Kimberly Moran, PsyD, HSPP Licensed Clinical Psychologist
We are all susceptible to stress, anxiety and depression, especially when we encounter a global pandemic. COVID-19 has taken away our ability to control many things in our lives—like where we can go, how we work, how we go to school and even how we socialize.
Sometimes, a little anxiety is what motivates us to get to work on time or study for a big test. But if that stress or anxiety gets too high, then it starts to affect us in a negative way. It’s important to know the signs of high levels of stress, anxiety or depression in yourself. It isn’t so much about avoiding these feelings, but more about having a plan to try and prevent them.
When you’re experiencing symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression, it can be helpful to take control of yourself. Self-care is a significant part of dealing with your feelings. It’s important to be nice to your body––stay hydrated, eat healthy, get plenty of rest and keep your body moving. It can be as simple as doing something that really brings you joy. Sometimes, taking part in something we enjoy is the first thing we stop when we are feeling down.
Emotions can be like a game of “Whac-a-mole”––if you continue to suppress your feelings, they may pop up somewhere else. This can lead to higher levels of stress, anxiety or depression, which in turn, can lead to lack of sleep, headaches, fatigue and other physical symptoms.
Don’t be afraid to allow yourself to feel your emotions. Remember all emotions are valid, and you are feeling them for a reason. The only way to disperse your emotions is to feel them and express them in a healthy way. Confide in a loved one, a friend or a professional. If talking about your feelings makes you uncomfortable, it can also help to write them down. This can also help to identify what you’re feeling and why.
If you’re experiencing severe anxiety or depression, it’s important to first see your primary care physician, as some medical issues can mimic mental health issues. Once any medical issues have been ruled out, then you can turn to the psychological approach. It may be beneficial for you to reach out to a counselor, therapist or psychologist.
If your stress, anxiety or depression is starting to affect your everyday life or causing thoughts of suicide, it’s important to seek help. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help––we all need help at some point in our life.
To schedule an appointment with Kimberly Moran, PsyD, please call 317.770.2841.