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Maintaining Your Mental Health During COVID-19

Coping with COVID-19 -

Information Resource

Table of Contents
1. So what will I do to get though this COVID-19 Thing?
2. COVID-19 APPs
3. COVID-19 Mental Health Response Website
4. Websites with Tips & Information for Coping with COVID-19
5. Mental Health in a Time of COVID-19 Resources
1. So what will I do to get through
this COVID-19 Thing?

I will be understandingforgiving, and kind. I will be aware of my own feelings and anxiety as well to avoid taking out stress on those around me. It’s OK for me to be angry, it’s OK for me to be scared, it’s OK for me to be frustrated. But I will do my best to not feed the anger, fear or frustration by doing some or all of the following:

Practice mindfulness. Learning and practicing mindfulness can help me to let go of worries and bring myself back to the present moment. Focus on the gentle movement of my breath or sounds I hear around me. Maybe I try one of the apps listed below to get me started.

Find something I can control and control the heck out of it. In moments of big uncertainty and overwhelm, control my little corner of the world. I can organize my bookshelf or purge my closet. It helps to anchor and ground me when the bigger things are chaotic.

Find a long-term project to dive into. Now is the time to learn a new skill, put together a huge jigsaw puzzle, start a 15 hour game of Risk, paint a picture, read a book series, binge watch an 8-season show, crochet a blanket, or develop a new town in Animal Crossing. Find something that will keep me busy, distracted, and engaged to take breaks from what is going on in the outside world.

Engage in repetitive movements and left-right movements. Research has shown that repetitive movement (knitting or jumping rope) especially left-right movement (running or drumming) can be effective at self-soothing and maintaining self-regulation in moments of distress. No wonder running is “therapy” for some of people!

Find an expressive art and go for it. People’s emotional brain is very receptive to the creative arts, and it is a direct portal for release of feeling. I will find something that is creative (sculpting, drawing, dancing, music, singing) and give it my all. See how relieved I will feel. It is a very effective way of helping kids to emote and communicate as well!

Good vibes go a long way.  A simple act of kindness can mean everything to someone. Check in on those I care about…. INCLUDING MYSELF!


We will get through this pandemic together. It may not be in a straight line and some days may be better than others, but we will get through it.

NOTE: I got this wonderful chart and ideas from my friend Sara who is an MBSR trainer who graduated from our MBSR Train the Trainer Program and we decided she would be the kick off contributor to our COVID-19 Tips Section. Thanks Sara


COVID-19 and Mental Wellness Self-Help Tool From: Livongo for Behavioral Health powered by myStrength

The online app myStrength is designed to assist you to learn ways to manage extreme stess, with tips for parenting during challenging times and to find support to help you take care of your emotional health.  myStrength will help you: 1. Build Emotional Strength, 2. Support your mind, body and spirit, 3. Give you inspiration and stories of hope and 4. Track your progress along your journey. NOTE: This COVID-19 and Mental Wellness resource is available to you and your friends and family at no cost through the end of June.

COVID Coach: The COVID Coach app was created by the Veterans Administration for everyone to support self-care and overall mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. You can read more about it at:

Apple COVID-19: This app has up-to-date information from trusted sources about the coronovirus in cooperation with CDC. It has a screening tool so you can find out what you should know about ourself or for a loved one. It give you access to resources you may need to feel supported and informed. You can read more at:

COVID-19 Symptom Study: Help slow the spread of COVID-19 by self-reporting your symtoms daily, even if you feel well. Join millions of people supporting scientists at Stanford University, Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital and King's College Londoh to fight coronavirus by identifying (1) How fast the virus is spreading in your area (2) High-risk areas in the US and (3) Who is most at risk, by better understanding symptoms llinked to underlying health Conditions. You can read more at:

3. COVID-19 Mental Health Response Websites Supporting your Mental Health during COVID-19 with 12 distinct topics of suggestions covering: Lessening Anxiety; Parenting; Helping Children Cope with Traumatic events; How to Stop Worrying; Stress Management; Exercise during Coronavirus: How to Cope with Traumatic Events like Coronavirus; Coping with Financial Stress; Dealing with Uncertainty During the Coronavirus Pandemic; How to Help & Give Back; Audio Meditations & Quick Stress Release at: Staying Resilient during COVID-19 with 9 distinct topics: Stages of Fatigue and self compassion; Boundaries; Gratitude; Locus of Control; Steps to Compassionate Action; Stress Awareness; Expectations; Mindfulness & Relationships During Social Distancing at: NN COVID-19 Stress, Distress & Trauma Series with 9 topics: Patterns of Stress determine Risk & Resilience; Understanding State-dependent functioning: Emotional Contagion; Sequence of Engagement; Understanding Regulation: Dosing & Spacing; Self-care & Organizational Care; Decision Fatigue & Managing Transitions at:

Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA): Coronavirus Anxiety - Heloful Expert Tips and Resources This resource is rich with great advice, it is updated daily to provide helpful tips and strategies from ADAA mental health professional and personal stories of triumph. The goal is to help individuals who are struggling with anxiety around COVID-19 or with general health anxiety at:

4. Websites with Tips & Information

for Coping with COVID-19



Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Top 10 List of COVID-19 Anxiety Reduction Strategies

Psychology Today
Coronavirus Disease 2019 - Resources - Continuously Updated
How to Cope with Covid-19 at: Psychology Today May 23, 2020

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Emotional Wellbeing During the COVID-19 Outbreak - Resources - Continuously Updated

American Psychological Association
APA COVID-19 Information and Resources -  Continuously Updated
Keeping Your Distance to Stay Safe - APA Resource - Continuously Updated


Health Matters: New York-Presbyterian

The Atlantic
What You Need to Know About the Coronovirus at The Atlantic - Continuously Updated

Slumber Yard
Bedtime Stress & COVID: 19 Wellness Tools for Kids at:
The Simple Dollar
A Home Insurance Guide for Multigenerational Families during Covid-19 at

My Move:
Can Coronarvirus Live on Mail? All of Your Questions, Answered at:

5. Mental Health in a Time of COVID-19

NOTE: The Partnership Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives from HHS is conducting major webinars addressing the COVID-19 Pandemic and information from these programs is most needed and appreciated. In this section we will look at highlights from these webinars.

Webinar 1: April 28, 2020 Preparing Leaders to Address the Challenges (click on title to watch)

The longer COVID-19 Pandemic goes on there will be increase of mental health issues.

Contributing factors of the COVID-19 pandemic to a mental health pandemic are:

1. Quarantine/social isolation – leads to PTSD, increased depression and anxiety

2. Traumatization of frontline health providers – great risk for major depression up to three years at the end of the crisis and right at the peak of he crisis depression, anxiety and stress related symptoms come up

3. Unemployment & financial hardship – leads to major increase in substance abuse (i.e. Opioid overdoses etc.) and suicide ideation increase

4. Educational disruptions – where young individuals got mental health services which are no longer available

5. Domestic violence and child abuse

6. Impact on mental health service deliverer


How can faith-based communities support mental health during COVID-19?

Combat social isolation

Psychological first aid training

Meaningful service opportunities for individuals including children and their families

Offer practical help

Purvey hope

Another major concern in America coming from COVID-19 are the: Serious Mentally Ill: 2-3% of American Population have Brain Diseases and there are not enough people in the USA to treat these individuals. 40% get no care. Psychiatric Hospitals no longer exist in enough numbers for them and so they are in prisons, jails or homeless. Biggest stigma is criminalizing mental illness. Teachers, clergy, emergency workers, first responders are not available to monitor if there are crises, violence or other domestic issues with these people with their families.  Faith Communities can step up by listening, have folks tell their stories and then link them to available services in the community

Webinar 2: May 12, 2020  When Trauma, Fear and Anxiety Become Overwhelming  (click on title to watch)

Practice Spiritual First Aid for COVID-19 with Your Family and Friends

The Spiritual First Aid for COVID-19 downloaded at:,can be used to assist individuals and small groups (e.g., couples, families, roommates) while physically distancing, sheltering in-place, and helping remotely (e.g., online). This manual offers a step-by-step approach to learning and providing spiritual and emotional care for others through Spiritual First Aid’s BLESS Method. The Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois developed the Spiritual First Aid's BLESS Method to take the “guesswork” out of disaster spiritual and emotional care and make humble helping and practical presence more “concrete.”

The BLESS Method addresses the five core needs of humans:

Belonging Needs - People need to belong. But the methods of containing an infectious disease can cause people to experience a loss of connection and ignite feelings of isolation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, mandated shutdowns have often abruptly disconnected a person’s usual access to their sources of community. Research shows that social and spiritual isolation is a strong predictor of negative mental health outcomes (e.g., depression, anxiety, suicide risk). People can cope better when they can seek and receive support during a time of uncertainty.

Livelihood Needs - Job layoffs, workplace shutdowns, and physical distancing have also caused financial hardships. Concerns over food insecurities have increased because of COVID-19. The pandemic has also led to shortages of necessary supplies. Shortages of healthcare professionals, protective equipment, properly equipped facilities, and medical supplies (e.g., ventilators) all cause major hardships. It is common for such struggles and losses to lead to other losses.

Emotional Needs -  COVID-19 has disrupted life rhythms and daily activities. This has led to a significant increase in people reporting emotional struggles. Many people are struggling with a wide range of psychological challenges. People are having difficulty balancing disruptions with the need to find ways to resume their typical activities. These disruptions have caused further psychological challenges. However, the more you are able to address gaps in a person’s emotional needs, the more likely they will be able to identify and practice healthy coping strategies, thereby reducing future stress.

Safety Needs - Mandated physical distancing, sheltering-in-place, and city lockdowns are necessary to help prevent spreading of the pandemic. However, it is important to note the seriousness of major health threats and other safety concerns that may arise during COVID-19. It is important that efforts are made to protect people from serious harm and to enhance a sense of security, especially for vulnerable groups (e.g., older adults).

Spiritual Needs - COVID-19 is causing some people to question meaning and suffering. For example, some may wonder why God allows suffering through illnesses. The Humanitarian Disaster Insttitute's research shows that disasters like COVID-19 can cause what we refer to as a meaning rupture. Examples of a meaning rupture include loss of purpose in life, awareness of mortality, and a sense of lacking control over one’s situation or life.

The Spritual First Aid Manual Teaches you how to assess and prioritize unmet core needs:

Step 1: ATTEND: Give people space to share and tell their stories and their most pressing unmet needs will naturally become apparent

Step 2: ASK: After sharing about their COVID-19 experience use open-ended questions to clarify those thing they are willing to share. Help people to clarify the primary unmet core needs that are most pressing for them

Step 3: ACT: Respond with recommended interventions that are paired with their needs as presented in the Manual. But always begin with the safety need which they have identified.

Step 4: And Repeat: Address  other unmet core needs if warranted and possible.

NOTE: The Spriitual First Aid COVID-19 Manual is a powerful tool book for those who want to reach out to others to support them in these bleak pandemic times. You would think this Manual would be enough but get this they have 18 Tip Sheets for parents, ministries and volunteers on how to cope with COVID-19 at:

For a diverse range of responses and resources related to mental health, faith and COVID-19, check out the Center's recent resource titled: Considering Faith, Community and Mental Health During the COVID19 Crisis  (Click on Title to download and read)
Mental Health Resource from Humanitarian Disaster Institute
A new resource Mental Health Handbook has been put out by the HDI called: COVID-19 Mental Health Handbook - Evidence-Informed Approaches to Mental Wellbeing During a Pandemic. You download your own copy of the Handbook by going to their webisrte at:

Tips for Coping with COVID-19 Crisis: Overcoming Anxiety

From the: National Council for Behavioral Health

We’re all in this together, and there are coping mechanisms that can work for everyone, even if there are nuances that make your situation a little different than another person’s situation. Many people crave order, it’s especially true now when we’re surrounded by chaotic events.

Here are a few tips to help:

1. Establish a routine – structure can help by providing boundaries and creating some sense of normalcy and predictability.

2. Set small goals – and accomplish them! This will help you feel a sense of accomplishment.

3. Acknowledge your grief/anxiety – we all are experiencing losses. It’s okay not to feel okay.

4. Use technology – stay connected to family, friends and health care practitioners using online applications and platforms.

5. Don’t ignore your physical health – taking care of your body helps you take care of your mind. Also, it’s okay to go outside and take a walk while maintaining distance from others.

6. Limit your news consumption – there’s always time to catch up on the news, so remember to take a break from the tidal wave of information.


To read the full article go to:

Suffering Alone from COVID-19 Stress? - Acceptance May Be the Solution

by Dwight Bain

This article by Dwight Bain appeared April 25, 2020 in Florida Mental Health Counselor's News Release and it clearly takes a Self-Compassion Perspective. He began the article asking us if we are experiencing any of the following COVID-19 Stress Symptoms:

- Panic about the future

- Career anxiety about employment

- Insurance loss if laid off and the possibility of no healthcare for your family

- Financial ruin from mounting debts

- Impulsive actions after weeks of lock down

- Crushing loneliness from social isolation

- Painful grief over no school graduations, family birthdays or vacations together

- Missed connections with friends, coworkers, and aging family members

- Feeling helpless and hopeless about the future

- Physical exhaustion and mental depletion


He concluded his article stating that the strongest choice to shatter COVID-19 stress is: Acceptance.

He encourages us to learn from those who survived global crisis events like World War Two or the Great Depression. They faced the difficulty directly and found a way forward.

You can too.

1. Take a breath and think about peace instead of panic.

2. Trust that others have faced impossible situations and found resilience and strength.

3. Ignore the doomsayers and you will immediately find a deeper level of peace.

4. What happens on Wall Street isn’t as important as what happens on your street.

5. You cannot control what happens in a global pandemic, but you can practice healthy self-care to build mental wellness and strength despite the stress.

 6. Taking care of you and your part of the world is a good place to start in moving forward.

7. Remember the words of the serenity prayer that carries millions of people forward every day,

“God grand me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can and Wisdom to know the difference.”

He concluded his article by saying:Let this journey through a pandemic be one of a growing sense of perspective.You become bigger than your fears when you confront COVID-19 stress with acceptance, peace, and courage. That is the great hope of the serenity prayer. Not that your circumstances changed, rather that you did.

NOTE: You can read the entire article at:

Here are three more articles by Dwight Bain related to the COVID-19 Pandemic:

1. COVID-19 Recession Recovery: Click here to download

2. COVID-19 Panc Will Ruin Your Immunity and Health. Here's How to Make it Worse. Click here to download

3. Can Sports "Heal" Coronavirus Stress?  Click here to download
Here is another good idea from Dwight Bain:

Spark resilience and mental wellness after COVID lock down with 21 questions that connect at a deeper level than just asking

“How are you doing”

Build emotional strength and resilience by asking:

1. What are you doing to practice self-care and personal wellness today?
2. What benefits have you seen during this shut down? (example, more family time)
3.   Besides toilet paper what items do you wish you had stocked up on?
4.   Where do you want to go first when the shelter in place is lifted?
5.  What books or online magazines have you been reading during the shutdown?
6.  What streaming services have you used most? (Netflix, Hulu, Sling, AppleTV, Amazon Prime or Disney+)
7.  How have you simplified your life during the lock down?
8.  What habits have you been able to break during the extra time at home?
9.    Have you picked up any bad habits during quarantine?
10.When you can safely attend public events after the lock down where will it be?
11 What parts of shelter in place have been the easiest to apply?
12.What parts of quarantine life will you keep in place after the lock down is lifted?
13.What do you miss most about life before COVID?
14.Which family member have you missed seeing the most during quarantine?
15.What act of kindness has impressed you the most?
16 What have you discovered you can live without?
17.What is hardest for you while sheltering in place? (example isolation)
18.Where do you find hope to keep going through this time of lock down?
19.What do you hope to remember about this time of global shut down?
20.How has the COVID shelter in place process changed you?
21.What topics are the hardest to talk about as lock down is ending? (example financial fears, substance abuse or abusive relationships)

Consider sharing a few of your own answers to spark conversations with your family and friends as you model the value of open conversations about COVID shelter in place. Story is a powerful force to build morale and courage for everyone.

When you talk through things you always get through them better. These questions require more disclosure as you get closer to the bottom of the page so start at the top and encourage others to share what was meaningful, or frustrating about lock down.

When you open conversations, it helps each person feel less stress and stay more engaged into the relationship. Covid recovery will be challenging for some, but to those who keep open lines of communication, their relationship will improve. Crisis can create connection when so start a conversation which may help someone find strength to move on.

“Next to creating a life the finest thing a man can do is save one.” – Abraham Lincoln

Wallet Size Tips for Managing Stress
During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Download this PDF which can fit in your wallet and remind you of the steps you can take to deal with the stress during this COVID-19 Pandemic. The images below are both sides of the card.