A day does not pass without an email coming across my desk about the increase in mental health concerns, substance use and addiction during this pandemic. The research is emphasizing how the pandemic can be linked with serious mental health issues, that include:
· Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
· Professional Burnout
· Increased Stress
We are facing the unknown. There is no doubt that these are scary times for the majority. Many times, we may be feeling as though all control has been lost and we find ourselves filled with fear, anxiety, frustration and confusion. It is so easy to get lost in the noise of what is going on around us. These feelings can lead to unhealthy choices. Self-care becomes something we put on the back burner. This poses a threat and leads to isolation, boredom and that continuous nagging fear- the noise of what is going on around us.
You may find yourself having more time than you are used to. This is when boredom may set in. For those in recovery this is a dangerous threat and a trigger to relapse. Boredom is something we all need to be aware of and a trigger not only for wrong choices, but depression, anxiety and fear. When we stick to a schedule that is familiar to our regular routine it will help maintain a sense of control. By scheduling time for work, family, self-care and rest the battle over boredom can be overcome.
Finding something new will help ward off unwanted negative emotions or unhealthy coping skills that arise. Tweaking creativeness may lead you to finding a new favorite hobby. We need to remember that our mental health is as important as our physical health.
Other tips for taking care of yourself include: Healthy diet, plenty of sleep and regular exercise to help reduce stress and anxiety. Establish and maintain a realistic routine that includes meals at regular times and a regular sleep schedule to ensure the proper rest. Incorporate a positive or fun activity in your schedule that you look forward to each day or week. Seriously take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to the news, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can trigger anxiety and feed the fears.
My sign-off note to the thousands of dental professionals in North Carolina is to remember the NCCDP is here to assist members of the dental profession and their families.
Enjoy the remainder of the summer with the focus being your self-care.