By Stefanie Small

With the Stay At Home orders being lifted in most states, many people will start to feel better from the negative feelings they may have been experiencing over the past few months. Depression, anxiety, stress, anger – all those emotions were being felt by people all over the world. However, despite the relief some people will feel, not everyone will feel better. And with the expected second wave, changes may occur again.

We recommend being careful out in the community – stay socially distant, wash your hands regularly, and wear masks. Try to avoid crowds. And be aware of how the pandemic is affecting your particular region.

But in addition to the physical safety, try to be mentally healthy as well. The most overwhelming issue for many people continues to be the Uncertainty. Some of the nation has returned to a semblance of normal but much has not. In answer to that, we tend to search out the latest news and updates, which in turn can upset us. Try to stick with a couple of reliable sources and tune out the rest. Don’t watch cable news all day – it’s a great deal of repetition that seems new but is not. Pick one newscast and stick with that.

Focus on what you CAN control and what you DO know. We know what helps prevent the spread – continue those activities. Make lists of what concerns you the most and try to problem solve some solutions around those. Some may not have solutions, but you might have more answers than you realize. Try some deep breathing when you feel you are moving out of control. JFCS has some guided videos to help you that can be found under mental health videos here: and on the Facebook page here:

Stay in touch with friends – whether it is by phone, videochat, or now outdoors socially distant in-person visits, personal connections are key to mental wellness. Social isolation has been known to be dangerous to our health for many years and these months have exacerbated it. Reach out now – you do not have to be alone. And if you need someone sooner, reach out to the Allegheny County warmline – 1866-661-WARM (9276) from 10am to midnight daily.

Lastly, move around – physical exercise is a great way to lift your spirits. A walk down the street, a hike in the park, lifting weights, virtual yoga classes – any movement is good movement. And don’t forget to leave the house daily – Vitamin D is necessary!!

You are not alone in your feelings – we understand and help is there.

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