Page 15 - Scene Magazine 45-05 May 2020
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undly powerful tools in
McDermott adds that this type of anxiety
can lead to anxiety attacks, which can include shortness of breath, chest pains, fear of heart failure, racing thoughts, and uncontrollable thoughts of disaster, bladder problems, sleep- lessness, rapid mood shifts, increased sweating, muscle aches, fatigue... as you can see some of these symptoms look similar to the symptoms of COVID-19. This can obviously lead to a vicious cycle of increased anxiety to increased symptoms to further increased anxiety. Anxiety like this is ‘contagious.’ We pick up on anxiety in others and it amplifies our own if we have it or can make us feel anxious if we don’t have any to start with. In this sense, getting some social distance might be helpful!
One of the biggest ways to combat this type of response is to understand it thoroughly so you can reassure yourself that this response is anxiety rather than whatever your mind may create to explain the symptoms; knowledge here is pow- er. Empowerment and self-efficacy are profoundly powerful tools in times when we feel so disem- powered.
A major source of anxiety is the 24-hour news cycle tending to focus on disaster, as well as the ‘experts’ on social media. It might be a good idea to limit your contact with these outlets and when you do check in ensure you have chosen your information sources wisely.
Strategies to help manage the mental health impacts of self-isolation for yourself with key behaviors and activities:
Find things to make you smile: Photos of kids, places, or events. Watch a funny movie. Laugh at yourself. Reminisce on positive experi- ences. Try laughter; it can lift your mood.
Structure and routine: The loss of structure and routine is already identified as a major mental health issue for all of us and this can be worsened at this time. If you are moving to being ‘self-isolated’ to protect yourself from infection then it’s important to establish a new routine as fast as possible.
The first thing on your mental health shopping list is a weekly planner... ensure you have a routine about bed and waking times, food, ‘work’ activity, social connections via phone or computer, catch- ing up on news, getting outside to exercise.
Remaining cognitively active: Ensure a good supply of card games, word games, and puzzles, investigate online support groups, get engaged in cooking, gardening, housework, play- ing music etc. Or consider joining me in making masks for our vulnerable seniors.
Exercise: Stay active, the social distancing measures still allow you to go outside, just be careful about contact with others. Or choose movement options inside such as yoga, treadmill, elliptical, and more. Personal trainers are also offering online sessions.
Practice mindfulness: Ensure you meditate regularly and if you don’t do ‘mindfulness’ yet then now is a great time to learn. There are a lot of apps available, including through your TV. Head- space has both daytime and bedtime apps. A clear head and relaxed sense can help you through many things.
Stop or manage substances: Alcohol, or other mood altering drugs, is not going to help. Substance abuse is a significant problem and abuse of alcohol significantly contributes to mental health problems.
Get Help from Your Community: The above steps can help with depression symptoms and anxiety. Another crucial step toward wellbeing is
how we can become resources to each other. You may know others in the community that need help, so reach out. Set up telephone contacts with each other. Now could be the right time to learn how to use Zoom and Skype to visit online.
As soon as you notice you, or others, may be struggling or having a hard time, reach out. Speak with a professional to see what you may be able to do to support yourself or your loved ones.
For more information:
• Summit Pointe (269) 966-1460 • 24-Hour Crisis 1-800-632-5449 • NAMI – Calhoun (269) 962-1762 •
For updates from Calhoun County, about County operations and COVID-19 in Calhoun County, visit the County website,
For updates from the City of Battle Creek, please visit
The State’s COVID-19 Hotline is available for anyone who has questions or concerns related to the virus. The hotline is open seven days a week from 8am-5pm. Call 1-888- 535-6136. For state COVID-19 information, visit
Lets take steps to prevent the challenges of social isolation, no matter the age, which can lead to significant health challenges and cause irrep- arable harm to physical and mental health, not to mention loneliness and depression.
The good news is that while watching Star Trek tonight I’ve been reassured to know that the traditional handshake as a greeting will once again be used in the future. But for those of you who choose not to shake hands, try the Vulcan greeting... Live long and prosper.

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