Maintaining your mental health during the pandemic

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people are feeling a heightened sense of anxiety, stress and a lack of control over the situation.

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people are feeling a heightened sense of anxiety, stress and a lack of control over the situation.

“This is unprecedented. Most of us have never lived through a pandemic. So how do we adjust to it? It’s completely normal to be confused, to wonder how we deal with it,” said Deborah Blalock, Deputy Director for Community Mental Health Services with the South Carolina Department of Mental Health.

While it’s important to take care of yourself physically, it’s also important to take care of yourself mentally.

“So when they get anxious, and they’re feeling really overwhelmed, if they just take in deep breaths very slowly through their nose, and then blow it out slowly through their mouths, it actually has a great reaction in the body and slows everything down,” said Blalock.

Each person is different, but one way to ease your stress may be to go for a socially distanced walk.

“For some folks, getting outside is very, very helpful and getting exercise is very helpful,” said Blalock.

“We do need to unplug, and we do need to remove ourselves as much as we can from the pandemic, and live a normal life as best we can,” said Zenethia Brown, Executive Director with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Mid-Carolina.

Right now, self-care is critical.

“Self-care is not an option, it is a necessity. Especially now. And so at some point during the day, even if it’s just ten minutes, you have to take ten minutes to breathe or do something that brings you joy and peace,” said Brown.

It’s also important to stay in touch with your loved ones.

“Just because you can’t go out and be together, you can still be creative and stay in touch with the people, and that’s a level of support as well,” said Brown.

“Don’t feel alone, because everybody is in the same boat right now. Everybody’s anxious, worried, concerned, trying to figure out how we’re going to get through. Be patient with yourself, and allow yourself to feel the things that you feel,” said Blalock.

Because it’s important to remember, this crisis isn’t going to last forever.

“There will be an end to it. We just have to get ourselves through and get to the other side. But we can do that with support and by supporting one another,” said Blalock.

If you need to talk to anyone, there are resources available right now through both S.C. Department of Mental Health and NAMI Mid-Carolina.

There’s also a 24/7 statewide crisis helpline you can call at 1-833-364-2274.

Categories: Local News, News, State