In extraordinary situations, stress reactions are a natural response.
Long or extremely stressful situations have an impact on physical and mental health. Studies on mental health in populations that have been dealing with the pandemic or have been through similar mass events have shown that there is a significantly increased risk of developing a mental health condition during or after the crisis.
This means that stress reactions such as sleeping problems, irritability, tension and “too much thinking” are normal under these conditions. Anxiety is also a very normal reaction. Because we are all experiencing a novel situation that is potentially threatening and accompanied by a range of additional stressful factors such as job insecurity, we are all much more alert to possible dangers than before the pandemic started.
On the one hand, anxiety is a helpful reaction that is meant to keep us safe. However, it costs a lot of energy. Too much anxiety can take a toll on our physical, mental and relational health.
Luckily, research with people who have been through similar, smaller-scale crises has shown that there are ALSO many factors that protect our health. Good relationships are one of the most powerful protective factors.
This is why it is so important to take special care of ourselves and each other.
Our toolkit is meant to help you with this by raising awareness for the impact of stress and offering tools to help protect wellbeing. We believe that it is most effective when shared with others – of course, only if you choose to. If you notice that our toolkit is not enough to deal with the stress you are feeling, we strongly encourage you to talk about it with friends, family or professionals.
Many people are afraid to seek help. This has so many different reasons. Some people feel that their problems are not worth other people’s time. Others are ashamed because they think that feeling anxious or depressed is a sign of weakness. However, asking for help is actually a sign of strength!
Is there someone close by that you can turn to for support?
Depending on where you are located, there are different means of mental health support. If you don’t know where to get help, turn to someone in your community whom you trust and ask what they would do, and who they would talk to.
Being resilient means both helping others, and accepting help.