Coping with Stress and Anxiety in Current Times

Yvette Glenn, Unity in Action Magazine

During this time, we are all faced with increased stressors of uncertainty. Moreover, with Covid-19, many of us are faced to meet new challenges around the new way of living. Some have taken to isolation at home since there has been much news about the virus being in the air, fear of becoming ill and trying to navigate all the news that we hear about the virus. To add insult to injury, we are left even more overwhelmed regarding our health, how to deal with a pandemic while also managing current health conditions and that of our loved ones. Stress and anxiety can lead one to feel a sense of isolation and loneliness through the drastic changes that are daily thrown into life without our ability to have control over these changes. These feelings can result in worrying about health and disturb many facets within our daily life.

We can feel anxious about many things, but with the pandemic we are left feeling even more overwhelmed with stress and anxiety about our day today activities. Stress and anxiety can come in many different forms on our brain and our physical body. There are different issues or concerns that will trigger these feelings, and summer worse than others. Examples of issues that can create stress and anxiety include:

- Health: ongoing chronic conditions or new test results.

- Employment: the everyday stressors from our workday, looking for new work, or the loss of employment.

- Social situations: wedding parties, social gatherings, family events.

How will I know if I am feeling stress?

Everyone’s response to stress and anxiety will differ, but the commonality among us is our need to find balance and ability to maintain control over the changing times.

Facing such a crisis leaves one facing challenges with sleeping, eating, with interruptions in living and ultimately day to day functions. The challenges of stress and anxiety can create health, emotional, social and financial concerns.

Symptoms that one can experience when feeling increased anxiety and stress vary from the following:

- Restlessness

- Nervousness

- Out of control feelings

- Muscle tension

- Headache

- Sweating

- Change or loss of appetite

- Difficulty with sleeping

- Dizziness and shaking

- Increased heartbeat and breathing

- Upset stomach, diarrhea

How can I take care of my stress and anxiety?

Taking care of our mental health is important. Of note stress and anxiety are not necessarily bad symptoms for us to experience. Having these feelings helps us and being motivated to address the issue or concern that is presenting the symptom. However, what’s important is to realize how to overcome the challenges that are associated with stress and anxiety.

Finding healthy ways to cope with the stress and anxiety are important to keeping sight of our daily life. There are many ways in which to deal with these feelings:

- Behavioral health and / or counseling

- Meditation

- Identification of time out sessions to regain focus

- Journaling

- Practicing deep breathing techniques

- Identification of what triggers stress and anxiety and addressing those triggers

- Talking out the stress and anxiety concerns with a close friend

- Taking a walk and /or increasing exercise activities

- Avoiding caffeine and alcoholic beverages

- Making changes in our diet, which promotes physical and mental wellness

Identifying when stress and anxiety are coming on, being in tune with the changes that occur physically and mentally, and identification of ways to control these feelings is key. With small changes incorporated into our functional day, we can remain healthy and create lifelong sustainable changes.

Mental Health Resources:

There are a number of mental health resources where one can obtain increased knowledge about different symptoms, conditions and the type of care offered. UAMag would like to share a select number of the trusted resources that are available online for your review:

· Therapy for Black Girls

· The Safe Place App is a Minority Mental Health app that educates and raises more awareness on Mental Illness in the Black Community

· Mental Health Resources for African Americans -

· Healing Black Women

· Healing While Black

· Inclusive Therapists

· Mental Health Coalition: Black Mental Health Resources

· Black Mental Wellness

· Black Women’s Health Imperative

We felt it important to share stories from African-Americans that sought out mental health services to showcase the importance in our communities:

· A Long Line of Depression and Anxiety: The Stigma Stops Here, Adina Young, 2018

· I Beat Anxiety and Depression, by Kellene Diana, 2019

· Diverse Women in Clinical Trials: Making a Difference, blog post, Marsha B. Henderson

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