Editor’s Note: This article on COVID-19 stress and ways to cope is posted in collaboration with an outside sponsorship client. The opinions and information contained within do not necessarily represent Frontstretch and its staff.
By Julia Thomas
The world has turned on a dime since the outbreak of COVID-19. Everyone has had to alter their routines, and some have even been forced to stay at home due to community flare-ups or their own exposure.
The effects on mental health can be significant when everything is so disrupted. For example, when the IndyCar Series announced that they would run the Indy 500 without fans, racing enthusiasts had to deal with feelings like anger, disappointment and helplessness.
Whether you’re fully quarantined due to exposure or being affected by the severe restrictions that have been put in place, BetterHelp is a useful tool. It can provide an outlet for your frustration and a way to learn how to cope with quarantine stress. Here are nine tips on how to take full advantage of this online counseling platform.
1. Set Up the App Your Way
The first step with getting mental health help online is to set up the BetterHelp app. It only takes a few moments, and you’ll be ready to start. Decide what internet-connected device you want to use for your sessions, such as a smartphone, a laptop or a tablet. Then, create an account at BetterHelp.com and download the mobile app at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.betterhelp&hl=en_US.
2. Learn about Common Mental Health Effects of Quarantine
Quarantine isolates you from other people. So, it’s natural to feel alone and disconnected from others. One way to realize you aren’t alone is to learn about how COVID-19 is affecting everyone’s mental health. Reading about the benefits of online counseling during this unprecedented time can put you at ease with the process.
3. Prepare for Your Counseling Sessions
While BetterHelp is available to you wherever you are, it’s a good idea to prepare a place at your chosen locations. Go where you can talk privately so that you can say whatever is on your mind without worrying about what other people in your life will say, think or feel. Get comfortable in a supportive chair with your device handy, ready to begin therapy. Even if you’re using the text chat feature of BetterHelp, you can relax and get more out of therapy if your environment isn’t adding to your stress.
4. Recognize Your Stressors
Several recent studies have identified a range of mental health challenges related to the pandemic. Some of them include increased stress, confusion and anger. These effects may happen both during and after lockdowns, and they often arise from problems like:
- Being confined
- Social stigma
- Financial losses
- Family conflicts
- Concerns about loved ones’ health
One of the first things you might want to address in therapy is the unique stressors that you are facing in your own life. Although we’re all in this together, everyone has their own unique experiences and challenges. You can even make a list of the things that are worrying you or upsetting your routine. Then, you can discuss them with your therapist.
5. Express Your Feelings
When you discuss the challenges you’re facing, your therapist can guide you in finding the solutions that work for you. But there’s another thing to consider. Expressing your emotions can help you deal with your feelings more positively. Give yourself permission to show how you feel during videoconferencing sessions or in the words you use on chat messaging.
6. Ask Questions
During therapy, your counselor may ask you many questions to help you discover why you feel the way you do and explore possible ways to approach those feelings. Remember that it’s also OK for you to ask questions yourself. Therapists tend to be very insightful about their clients’ needs. However, the more you engage in the process by asking questions, the more you’ll learn how to help yourself.
7. Evaluate Your Thoughts and Actions
The pandemic is something that is happening to everyone. But it isn’t just an outside force working on you. Your own thoughts and actions determine how you will cope with the stress. Be willing to examine your beliefs about the virus, yourself, and those around you. Be open to assessing your behaviors in terms of how helpful they are to you. Your BetterHelp therapist will guide you in this process.
8. Make Changes
You can’t banish the virus all by yourself. What you can do is make changes in the way you think about it and what you do to relieve your stress. With your counselor’s help, you can choose to make healthy changes that will see you through this crisis and prepare you for the aftermath.
9. Seek Social Support
The idea of getting support from friends and family might seem far-fetched right now, especially if they can’t be with you now. You can connect with them through phone calls, Skype calls or social media. Be supportive of those you care about even as you accept their social support. You can also connect with BetterHelp on Facebook to find helpful articles, advice, and tips for improving your mental health.
You need to take care of your mental health now more than ever. Talking to a counselor from BetterHelp may be your best first step to feeling better and making positive changes. Always remember: the stress is real, but so is the opportunity to get help with it.