Focusing on mental, physical health during stay-at-home order

Posted at 9:50 PM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 00:50:34-04

Medical professionals have called for separation to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Stay-at-home orders were put in place across the nation, and right here in Arizona, as a way to keep people safe.

However, isolation and a complete breakdown of normalcy is something the mind cannot always understand and that sometimes leads to ways of coping that is actually detrimental to mental health.

Experts with Arizona State University said there has been a rise in sales of alcohol and drugs, like marijuana. They also report more time spent playing video games, using cell phones, and watching television. Finally, they have seen people shift to a lifestyle of less exercise and unhealthy eating habits.

"Trying to know... when my coping has gone off the rails," said Dr. Jamie Bludworth.

Dr. Bludworth is a licensed psychologist. He holds many titles at Arizona State University within the College of Integrative Science and Arts, such as Director of Masters of Counseling Training and Clinical Assistant Professor.

He said, there is no 'one-size-fits-all' formula for the perfect coping mechanism. But he said thinking of self-care is a good way to start finding out what works for you.

"Can I give myself a break and be nice to myself," Dr. Bludworth said.

It is also critical that you check on your loved ones right now.

But how can you recognize depression and anxiety when you can only see them on video chat?

"Looking for changes in the person's environment... looking for changes kind of in their hygiene," Dr. Bludworth described.

When you notice certain clues, have a conversation with them that is not accusatory.

"How are you doing," Dr. Bludworth said. "Are you okay?... You seem different to me."

Dr. Bludworht thinks some good could come out of a situation where we are all forced to stay home. He hopes anyone who feels embarrassed about seeking treatment can consider tele-therapy.

"Nobody has to see you going into the agency or anything like that," Dr. Bludworth said. "So I think there is real opportunity right now for people who you know have been thinking about going to counseling to be able to do it more privately than they ever have."

Grappling with a global pandemic looks different to every individual.

But, Dr. Bludworth believes there is an opportunity for success.

"And sometimes, you can even come out of this stronger than you were before you went into it," Dr. Bludworth said.

For resources on coping from ASU, click here.