Covid-19 Resources for First Responders
The Peer Support Foundation has put together some information and resources to help first responders with mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tips for coping with stress for first responders
Santa Clara University has designed the 8 Pillars of Wellness. Inspired by the Jesuit value of cura personalis or “care of the whole person,” the eight pillars of wellness are – physical, social, emotional, occupational, financial, spiritual, intellectual, and environmental. Improvement in the areas of our control can help ease our stress and keep us healthier.
Below are some tips to help with the areas under our control. Set goals to improve in each area.
Keep Life Normal
Try to keep your life as normal as possible. Keep the same daily routine if possible. In times where everything is changing, it's important to keep your life as normal possible within the areas of your control. If you exercise everyday at the gym but your gym is closed, then exercise at home during the same time.
Did you know that regular exercise may reduce stress and anxiety just as much as an anti-depressant? Keep your normal eating routine and avoid grazing just to fill time. Also, avoid excessive amount of alcohol. Alcohol can hinder the body and mind from coping with stress. Finally, keep your regular schedule of sleep. 7-9 hours of sleep daily is recommended.
Avoid too much exposure to news and social media. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do enjoyable activities and return to normal life as much as possible and check for updates once a day for the most updated information.
Take a Break
Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Try taking in deep breaths. Try to do activities you usually enjoy.
Meditation, Yoga, and mindfulness are a few ways to relax.
There are websites and apps that have guided relaxation and meditations exercises. They are a great way to learn these techniques from within your own home.
Maintaining healthy social and family relationships can help provide support. If your are unable to spend time with them face to face, then use technology to stay connected. Laugh, joke, and share funny stories with your friends and family to help reduce stress. Be creative. Birthday parades are new way of being social and yet distant.
Talk It Out
One of the best ways for our brain to process stress is to talk.
Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Use technology to reach out. If your unable to talk with someone, try writing in a journal. Writing down your thoughts can still help you process the stress.