The COVID-19 pandemic poses many challenges to our mental health. It’s added a variety of stressors and worries well beyond we might feel on a normal day.
It’s a good idea to talk about these things openly and see what we can learn about how to cope with these challenges. In times like these, even a small improvement in our coping skills can make a big difference in how resilient we are.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do this alone. Virginia Premier is here to help our members and community during the pandemic, and we’ve partnered with Psych Hub to provide even more support.
Feel free to click any of the links in this post if you’d like to take a deeper dive into how to achieve good mental health.
What is mental health?
“Mental health” refers to how we feel about ourselves and our ability to manage and cope with our situation. It ties in our emotions and our relationships with others. Our mental health affects most every aspect of our lives, from infancy to old age.
You may have heard of some of the conditions that can be especially challenging to good mental health:
- Depression or bipolar disorder
- Suicidal thoughts
- Substance abuse and addiction
Let’s look at some of the ways that you can check up on your own mental, and others.
Symptoms of poor mental health
There are a variety of symptoms that could arise from poor mental health. They include:
- insomnia or other changes in sleep
- changes in eating patterns
- difficulty concentrating
- feeling grief, or being sad or depressed
- feeling anxious
- low energy
- increased use alcohol, tobacco or other substances
These are just some of the common symptoms. It’s important to consult a doctor about mental health concerns, as they’ll be better able to diagnose any problems.
The good news is that you can build your resilience, your ability to cope with these issues. That’s especially true if you have the help of a doctor or other healthcare provider. And most health insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover mental health services. These services are available even as we’re social distancing during the pandemic.
How to improve your mental health
There are many things you can do to increase your resilience and handle stress. Just be sure to learn about these strategies from reputable sources. For instance, the CDC has published several ideas for coping with stress and anxiety during the pandemic:
Here are some easy strategies you can use. They may seem obvious, but they’re worth repeating:
- Stay in touch with family and friends with emails, texts, phone calls or video chats.
- Set a clear schedule for your day, and be sure to include self-care activities such as sleeping and eating enough, bathing and grooming. Checking up on loved ones and doing something fun should also be on the list.
- Speaking of which, you could try something new. Taking up a new hobby could be stimulating and help ward off “cabin fever”.
- Take things one day at a time and use the “baby steps” approach. That way, you can make steady progress with your situation rather than feeling overwhelmed.
- Don’t spend too much time worrying. Whether it’s in the form of following up on the latest COVID-19 news, or discussions with friends and family, try to limit any activities that could trigger anxiety.
Use the help available to you
There are lots of resources available to Virginia Premier members to cope with mental health issues:
- If you or someone you know is having mental health difficulties, contact the Beacon Crisis Line.
- If you have any other health conditions and need help but it’s not an emergency, call the Nurse Advice Line at 1-800-256-1982 (or 1-833-810-4970 for our Individual and Family plan members).
- You can also call Member Services at to find out about other resources in your area that you can make use of.
Yes, the coronavirus pandemic is stressful. But there are lots of avenues available to you to get some stress relief.
If you’d like to research further, take a look at the websites below: