As I think of the implications of COVID-19, I am reminded of the beginning of “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair …”
And it is that last word, despair, that I wish to address. I recognize the psychological impact that COVID-19 can potentially have on our community and our loved ones. It is normal to feel stress, anxiety, and even fear during a crisis. But how we respond individually as colleagues, friends, parents, loved ones is crucial. In fact, there is much we can do:
- Start with taking care of yourself emotionally and physically.
- Stay informed through reliable sources on COVID-19, but avoid excessive exposure to media coverage on COVID-19.
- Try to eat healthy well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid excessive use of caffeine and alcohol.
- Take breaks to unwind.
- Deep breathing exercises, yoga, stretching, and/or meditation are very beneficial for the soul, the body, and the mind.
- Stay connected with colleagues, friends, and loved ones.
- Share your concerns and feelings; and be willing to hear others. In other words, maintain healthy relationships.
For those of us with preexisting physical and mental health conditions, continue your treatment plans; and be vigilant for any new symptoms or changes. By taking care of ourselves, we enhance and increase our resilience to address adversity and help others.
Below are a few resources for all of us to utilize and to share:
- Mental Health and Coping (CDC resource)
- Statement from Mental Health America about Mental Health Impact of COVID-19 (MHA National)
- Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource (National School of School Psychologists)
It’s also important to remember that collectively we have been through hardships and difficult times before and we will persevere through this time together as a foundation, as a university, as a city, as a state, as a nation.
Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr.
Executive Director, Hogg Foundation for Mental Health