Emergency Status
Apr 02

COVID-19: Managing the Mental Mayhem

Notes on Handling the Stress and Anxiety of the Pandemic
by Lori Kleinman, PhD

This Too Shall Pass — April 2

These are four simple words that can change the course of our lives right now. Let’s break it down:

  • This = The COVID-19 virus effects on our individual lives and society.
  • Too = There have been other large-scale difficulties in our individual lives and society. There will be again in varying ways. That is part of life and part of what brings us together to solve problems and build resilience.
  • Shall = We are designed to be resilient. Resilience means we can recover from difficulties and bounce back while becoming stronger through the process of recovery. Along with resilience, we have the capacity for stress hardiness. Stress hardiness means we utilize good coping skills during difficult times to maximize our recovery and resilience. We, as individuals and as a society, can be realistically hopeful that we will survive and even grow stronger through this. In addition, we will cope with the sad and painful parts of this process by using our own strengths as well as reaching out for support and assistance with one another.
  • Pass = We will move through and beyond this. Stronger. More aware. Closer as individuals and as a society. There will be ease again, and in the meantime, we will actively look for and create moments of joy and relief as we soldier on toward solutions.

Managing Uncertainty

Now, on to the process of how we shall and will manage while times are uncertain:

  1. Schedule your time and include breaks
  2. Maintain healthy eating and limit sugar, saturated fats, empty calories
  3. Keep alcohol use to one or less drinks per day (yes, really!)
  4. Move your body and exercise at least an average of 30 minutes per day most days
  5. Practice relaxation exercises including deep belly breathing and releasing muscles, especially jaw, shoulders, back, hands
  6. Play and laugh, no matter your age, and schedule time for fun experiences into your day
  7. Maintain personal hygiene with an attitude of appreciation for your body
  8. Stay connected and reach out by voice to friends every day, even if only for a few minutes

Reach Out & Resources

These are challenging and uncertain times. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself and others. Sometimes the demands on us are greater than our existing resources to manage those demands. Please, if you need help, reach out. Below are some resources for you and your loved ones. Keep these numbers available, just in case.

  • Colorado State Crisis Hotline: 844-493-8255 (844-493-TALK) or text “TALK” to 38255
  • National Disaster Distress Hotline: 800-985-5990 (if emotional distress related to pandemic/disasters)
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 800-273-8255, ext 1
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-784-2433 (800-SUICIDE)
  • National Domestic Violence Helpline: 800-799-7233 (800-799-SAFE)
  • Safe 2 Tell: 877-542-7233 (877-542-SAFE) (anonymous reporting if someone in danger)
  • Youth Suicide Prevention Assistance: www.sourcesofstrength.org
  • Boulder County Public Health COVID-19 Information boco.org/COVID-19

Wishing you good health and comfort, Dr. Lori Kleinman

Lori Kleinman, PhD, is a licensed psychologist with over 30 years of experience providing mental health services and consultation. In addition to private clinical practice, she provides immediate disruptive event/critical incident response to organizations. Dr. Kleinman holds certifications and specialized training in the areas of stress management, trauma psychology, health psychology, compassion fatigue, grief, suicide prevention, relationships, communication, leadership development, performance enhancement, hostage negotiation, and combat stress mitigation. She assisted personnel and leadership before and after 911, led disaster mental health services, and has a written a suicide prevention training program.