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Taking care of your Self

Covid. World tension. Conspiracy theories, pundit speculations. Family issues. Conflicts of any number of things.

Emily was beginning to think there must be something terribly wrong with her because she just couldn’t keep up the balancing act, the trying to keep peace in her corner of the world, to encourage and support the people around her as everyone struggles with distress and anxiety. The weight on her shoulders was quickly becoming too much. She wondered if she had suffered more from stress than she had realized. She tried to remember when her heart had begun to race from all of the stress she tried to shake off. She didn’t know what to do about anything. Finding a cave on a mountaintop wasn’t a practical solution but it surely was tempting.

“Mental health distress and illness can negatively impact your safety and well-being, putting yourself and those around you at risk,” advises the National Safety Council. “Prioritizing your mental health can be challenging, especially during stressful or difficult times, but it is a crucial step in ensuring a safe environment for you, your coworkers and loved ones.”

It can take a long while for mental stress to show up. What should you look for? We’re glad you asked that question. The NSC lists signs of mental distress.

Feeling physically or mentally drained.

• Feeling sad, lonely, numb, or worried.

• Difficult to focus or make decisions.

• Changes in appetite or sleep patterns.

• Arguing more or becoming more easily frustrated with family, friends or colleagues.

• Increase in drug or alcohol use.

“It’s not wrong to have these feelings, but if you’re having them frequently, it’s a sign you should seek additional help,” says NSC.

To reduce stress and anxiety the NSC suggests that you lean on your support systems. Just getting the words spoken aloud to someone you trust can be a big help. We’ve talked before about how watching the news or hanging out with social media too much is bad for everyone. Do things that you enjoy doing, like hobbies, crafts like crochet or woodworking, learning something new, reading the collection of books you’ve been accumulating for a while. It’s better to avoid alcohol or other drug use because they just make everything worse.

It’s important to tend to your physical self-care … eat healthy, get regular exercise and seven to nine hours of sleep each day. You can say you don’t have time for that, but our friend’s example at the top of this article is not a good place for anyone. If you don’t take care of you, you won’t be around to take care of everything you have to take care of – or think you do.

When you just can’t get a handle on the stress and anxiety, to overcome those blues, it’s time to talk to your health care provider about how you feel and get some ideas for positive change that can help you get where you need to be.

“Never be afraid to raise concerns, ask for assistance, or take time for self-care,” NSC urges. “When you feel mentally healthy and supported, you can help ensure the safety of everyone around you – at home and on the job.

Family Recovery Center doesn’t help only families with addiction issues. FRC can help families find ways to navigate through these challenging times. For more information about how FRC can assist you with the anxiety and stress of Covid-19, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. Visit the web site at www.familyrecovery.org. Family Recovery Center is funded, in part, by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.

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