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When the COVID-19 Global Pandemic started in China last year, I don’t think anyone was fully prepared for the mental toll of dealing with the subsequent government ordered shut down and isolation at home. I know that I wasn’t…

Schools closed; churches closed; businesses closed; public gathering places closed; and the list goes on and on.  Many people lost their jobs or had to transition to working from home.  Essential workers had/have to work with the fear of being exposed to the virus while at work. There were shortages of supplies. There was a barrage of conflicting reports and policies that had everyone scratching their heads. The list inconveniences goes on and on.  As states across the USA begin to partially or fully re-open, many people are struggling with the reality of the “New Normal.”

There is a growing concern that the number of suicide related deaths in 2020 is going to far exceed the number of deaths caused by the COVID-19 Virus. The statistics are alarming.

I am not a mental health expert, but I want to help by providing information for people who made need it during this unstable period of time. Studies show that people who are depressed typically do not take as good care of their teeth as people who are not depressed / anxious. There is a dental health connection to a person’s overall mental health and physical well being.

If you are reading this, then know that someone cares because I CARE ABOUT YOU AND WE CARE ABOUT YOU! If you are struggling, then please reach out to someone.

Here are some resources to help with mental health and well being during these stressful times.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Here are six steps for staying well during times of prolonged isolation and disturbance:

  1. Keep a Routine
  • Begin each morning with thinking about at least three things or three people that you are grateful for.
  • It is critical to keep your daily life predictable to the extent you can
  • If you’re working remotely, stick to a schedule
  • If work is on pause, create a new daily schedule for yourself and stick to it
  • Start a project you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t had time
  1. Take Care of Your Body and Your Smile
  • Sleep well and stick to a regular bedtime
  • Before bed focus on at least one positive thing that happened during your day.
  • Eat healthy food—Eating a balanced meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner will make you less tempted to stress-binge
  • Exercise daily and take advantage of having more time for it
  • Set new fitness goals for yourself
  • Practice breathing exercises with mindful purpose.
  • Walk, run, or bike while maintaining physical distancing
  • Take one of the many guided exercises available online
  • Spend extra time brushing and flossing your teeth.
  1. Nurture Your Social Connections
  • This is the time to connect even more than ever
  • If you live alone, consider building daily check-in routines that keep you connected
  • If you live with others, remember to lift them up emotionally
  • Consider doing things together that you all enjoy (such as a family game night or family home movie night).
  • Connect remotely often with people you’re close to outside of the house
  • Turn OFF the 24/7 News Channels. It’s OK to be informed, but limit watching the news to no more than 30 minutes a day.
  1. Find Purpose and Reconnect Spiritually
  • We’re in a time of prolonged pause from activities that give our lives purpose
  • Remember this shutdown is temporary
  • What can you do during this time to create purpose for yourself and reconnect spiritually with yourself?
  • Reach out to a local pastor, spiritual leader, therapist, or counselor for help.
  1. Take Care of Your Emotions: Seek Out Joy
  • We have so much more control over our emotions than we think
  • Find ways to redirect your attention to what brings you happiness
  • Try this what-went-well-today exercise
  • Seek out playful activities—music, dance, and games
  1. Take Care of Your Emotions: Keep Your Worry in Check 
  • Anxiety is our mind’s way of getting us to pay attention to threat so we can problem solve
  • It’s not working right when we just get wound up without solution
  • The U.S. Department of Defense decided to build soldiers’ resiliency by teaching them to “decatastrophize.” You may want to learn this powerful technique.

Additional Personal Resources:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1.800.273.8255 (TALK)

We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

Crisis Text Line

Text HOME to 741741

Text from anywhere in the United States, anytime, about any type of crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds, all from our secure online platform. The volunteer Crisis Counselor will help you move from a hot moment to a cool moment.

Veterans Crisis Line

1.800.273.8255   (Text 838255)

The Veterans Crisis Line is a free, confidential resource that’s available to anyone, even if you’re not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care. The caring, qualified responders at the Veterans Crisis Line are specially trained and experienced in helping Veterans of all ages and circumstances.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline

1.800.985.5990   (Text TalkWithUs to 66746)

The Disaster Distress Helpline is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories

National Alliance on Mental Illness 

1.800.950.6264   (Text NAMI to 741741)

NAMI provides advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives.

 

 

Together we can get thru this storm of turbulent times and come out even better on the other side.

Stay safe.  Stay healthy.  With much LOVE and Blessings, -Dr. Cameron

Sophisticated Smiles