The Emotional Toll of COVID-19 & How to Help
We are all trying to navigate this stressful time. Many are fearful and anxious about the outbreak and it can be very overwhelming for adults and children. Many students and teachers are struggling with the transition to remote learning. Students are having to cope with missing major milestones like commencements, proms, and SATs. As we know, domestic violence increases whenever stress increases, so sadly some students may have to deal with abuse in the home. Coping with stress in a healthy way will make you, those who care about you, and your community stronger. Stress due to an infectious disease outbreak can include: Fear and worry about your own health or the health of a loved one, changed in sleep or eating patterns, difficulty sleeping or paying attention, worsening of chronic health problems, worsening of mental health, and increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. Here are a few ways you can cope with stress during this crisis.
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. This includes social media. Hearing about the pandemic 24/7 can but a strain on your mental health.
- Take Care of your body. Meditation is a great way to relieve stress. CE Credits Online has a course entitled, “A Mindful Pedagogy: Strategies for Creating Compassionate and Purposeful Learning Spaces” which can give you extra information on how to support mindfulness with your students. You can also take care of your body by fueling it with healthy foods and getting plenty of sleep.
- Take time to relax. Try to do some fun activities you enjoy. This can also be a way to help your students during this time. Try to make virtual class time enjoyable for your students.
- Connect with your friends and family. Talk to people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. You can bring this into the classroom by starting the class with an open conversation about how everyone is feeling about being in quarantine or offering some one on one time or "office hours”.
Not everyone reacts to this kind of stress the same. Children and teens tend to react on what they see from adults around them. When they see adults deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently it can be very supportive for them. Some may want to ask questions. Answering those questions in a calm way they can understand can help. Your students will also need reassurance that they are safe. Let them know it’s okay to be upset and sharing with them how you deal with stress will allow them to learn how to cope. Lastly make sure to try and keep up with some sort of classroom routines. Students need structure.
Here are a few COVID-19 Resources if you or a loved one is in need:
OMH Emotional Support Helpline: 1-844-863-9314 (The Emotional Support Helpline provides free and confidential support, helping callers experiencing increased anxiety due to the coronavirus emergency. The Helpline is staffed by volunteers, including mental health professionals, who have received training in crisis counseling.)