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Tips on dealing with emotional fatigue over COVID-19 deaths, elections and financial stress

Mental Health Awareness Month
Posted at 7:26 PM, Oct 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-30 20:27:29-04

KANSAS CITY, MO — In a year that's been like no other many people are dealing with emotional fatigue due to COVID-19 deaths, elections and the financial stress of unemployment.

Garnice Robertson, is one of more than 1,000 people in Kansas who suffered the loss of a loved one to the virus.

She lost her mother who developed COVID-19 and died earlier this year. Her mother would have turned 90 this month.

"I may get up and go to work one day and feel like the emotions just overtake me sometimes and the next thing you know, I'm crying you know," she said.

Sondra Wallace is the Mental Health Coalition Coordinator at Jewish Family Services. She says there are strategies you can use to help manage the fatigue.

Sondra Wallace offered the following strategies for managing life in these stressful times:

Take deep breaths
"The best one is just to breathe. It's totally free. It doesn't cost you don't have to go see anybody else you don't have to see a therapist or anything and it's just being intentional about taking those breaths that allow you to pause and re-group," Wallace said.

Don't get caught in contention; think compassion
"When we are can be in a space of compassion for others it allows our emotional responses to be healthier and healthier for us as well as healthier for the other person that might be engaged in a conversation," she said.

Rediscover nature
She suggests taking a walk around the yard if you don't have time for a long walk around the neighborhood. "It's amazing what that sunshine and fresh air can do for us." Wallace said.

Walk around your home
"Walking around your house or around your apartment or around where you live even doing a flight of stairs a couple of tines. When we get our heart rate moving, during a stressful time, it relaxes you which seems kine of counter-intuitive but it really doers bring those cortozol levels down when we are able to exercise," she said.

Smile, even when you're wearing a mask
"We can't see each others smile right now; so just raising your eyebrows and making eye contact with somebody. It's interesting, I've been experimenting with it and it is powerful. Like you get this great energy from the other person by just doing something as simple as that," Wallace said.

Try the 3X3 exercise to focus on the future
Ask yourself what are three things that have happened in the last three months that you want to keep doing. Then ask yourself what are three things in the last three months that you want to stop doing; and finally what are three things you want do do in the next three months.

Set up a calendar on a wall to remind yourself there is hope
"It would be great to just put up a year long calendar on the wall that you can see those things that might be coming-up; and although they ma be different, it still gives you this sense of hope that future thinking that yes, this doesn't feel great right now and this is really really hard; but there is hope," Wallace said.

Talk with a mental health professional
If you are not finding relief from self-soothing strategies, Wallace said it's important to talk with a mental health expert who will help you determine your mental health concern and explore options to address it.

The Rebound Kansas City is our effort is to help metro residents play a role in moving our community forward. We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas to via email to rebound@kshb.com and we welcome you to join in the conversation on the Rebound KC Facebook Group.

Whether you're Getting Back to Work after a layoff, need help Making Ends Meet during these trying times or need tips on Managing the Pressure we're all feeling, The Rebound has resources to find help. We'll also make sure local leaders are Doing What's Right to get Kansas City back track after a three-month shutdown.

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