Lincoln – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it’s natural to feel frustration, stress and anxiety. Let’s counter it with a remedy of positivity to one another. We can get through this together with kindness and support.
“These times call for each of us to take a moment to ensure we communicate and treat each other with respect,” said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health at DHHS. “One way that stress presents is through communication. When we are stressed, we may become easily frustrated or angry. Emotion then may impact your communication skills. A person in a heightened sense of stress can have trouble choosing their words carefully or expressing things in an appropriate way. Working to stay calm or taking a deep breath before you respond is important. When a person is feeling stressed, it’s easy for them to misunderstand another person’s intentions or what they are trying to communicate which can easily escalate. Checking for understanding on what a person said before reacting is the best approach.”
The following 7 tips are adapted from The American Psychological Association (“Check Out the Stress Tip Sheet,” 2018) to support individuals with a stress management plan:
- Understand your stress: How do you stress? It can be different for everybody. By understanding what stress looks like for you, you can be better prepared, and reach for your stress management toolbox when needed.
- Identify your stress sources: What causes you to be stressed? Be it work, family, change or any of the other potential thousand triggers.
- Learn to recognize stress signals: We all process stress differently so it’s important to be aware of your individual stress symptoms. What are your internal alarm bells? Low tolerance, headaches, stomach pains or a combination?
- Recognize your stress strategies: What is your go-to tactic for calming down? These can be behaviors learned over years and sometimes aren’t the healthy option. For example, some people cope with stress by self-medicating with alcohol or overeating.
- Implement healthy stress management strategies: It’s good to be mindful of any current unhealthy coping behaviors so you can switch them out for a healthy option. For example, if overeating is your current go to, you could practice meditation instead, or make a decision to phone a friend to chat through your situation. The American Psychological Association suggest that switching out one behavior at a time is most effective in creating positive change.
- Make self-care a priority: When we make time for ourselves, we put our well-being before others. This can feel selfish to start, but it is like the airplane analogy—we must put our own oxygen mask on before we can assist others. The simplest things that promote well-being, such as enough sleep, food, downtime, and exercise are often the ones overlooked.Self-care is group-care.
- Ask for support when needed: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out to a friend or family member you can talk to. Speaking with a healthcare professional can also reduce stress, and help us learn healthier coping strategies.
Need to talk or get immediate help in a crisis?
- Nebraska Family Helpline, (888) 866-8660
- Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish), or text TalkWithUs for English or Hablanos for Spanish to 66746.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
- National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
- The Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116
- Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)