We all know, the Corona Virus is bad…really bad.  When you are living with a chronic condition or a disability, no matter what your age, the feelings of anxiety can be even more strong.  If you are living with a mental illness, the anxiety can grow into depression, just as it can with anyone.  What can we do, as individuals, to control these feelings of anxiety and depression?

This question was posed to me recently from one of our clients.  The gentleman, Roger, lives alone in an apartment complex.  He is around 22 years of age and lives with mental illness along with recently being diagnosed with cancer.  Roger has a special needs trust managed by a professional trustee. 

My response to Roger’s question was as follows.  Take some time for yourself.  Allow yourself to feel the anxiety and know you are not alone.  So many people are feeling similar feelings.  Pray for others and yourself. This is a difficult time for all of us.

Try to get some exercise.  It will help to release some anxiety and stress being felt.  Exercise will also help to improve your mood.  If you can, get outside.  Breathe some fresh air but be sure to maintain your 6-foot distance from others.  If you cannot get outside, try to find an exercise video on U-Tube or online to watch.  Chair exercises are very beneficial to our overall body.

Keep yourself occupied.  Idle time makes the heart grow weary. Some things you may like to do is read a book, watch a comedy on TV, play video games, or try a new recipe. It is important to know how you are feeling and try to improve your mood.  There is a new app people are joining on their phones called Tik Tok.  It is a fun diversion from the day-to-day routine.  People post videos of themselves acting out a scene, signing a song, playing with their pets, and much more. 

Maintain a routine.  Being stuck at home can give you time to take care of some things you have been putting off starting or completing.  Simple things such as rising at the same time every day, taking care of your pets as usual, eating at around the same time and going to bed at the usual time will help to keep you focused. 

Avoid self-medicating.  Sometimes, when people are not able to do the things they are accustomed to doing, they turn to alcohol or various drugs. They may over-medicate or under-medicate.  Sticking to the usual routine of when to take medications and how much to take will help to keep you focused.

Reach out to others. Make some phone calls to friends and family you have not talked to in a while.  Remember, they also are living through this Corona Virus, just like you.  Show some concern and share your concern.  Both of you will feel better from the call.

I ended our call by telling Roger a poem I heard.  I don’t know who wrote it, but its message rings true.  “Dark days are necessary, just as important as the rest. For if we didn’t have the worst, we couldn’t recognize the best.”

For more information on Special Needs Trusts, please contact Vista Points, Inc. at [email protected] or call 888-422-4076.

Darlene A. Kemp, MPH, MBA-HCM – Executive Director, Vista Points, Inc.

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