Mental Health During Stressful Times

TMC/UH’s Roxanne Pendleton says it is important during this time to find ways to find calm to help maintain your mental health.  What does finding calm look like?  Roxanne suggests checking in with yourself and asking:

  • How can I add calm to my life?
  • What do I have control over?
  • How can I create safety in the areas I can control?

Roxanne also suggests creating a routine.  While your routine will allow you to have regular structure in your day, she also reminds us to be flexible in case the day doesn’t go as planned.

One of the things Roxanne has built into her new schedule is taking time each morning to talk with a friend.  “Stop thinking of this time as social distancing, and instead think of it as physical distancing.  Thanks to technology, we can still connect socially,” says Roxanne.  That social connection can take many forms, including:

  • Texting with someone
  • FaceTime or group FaceTime
  • Daily phone calls with a friend
  • Eating dinner together with your family sheltering in place with you
  • During dinner, checking with each person to see how they are doing, mentally and emotionally

Along with adding things to your day, like social connection and self-care practices, Roxanne recommends limiting things that stress you out, for example, the amount of news you read/listen to/watch each day.

Part of taking care of our mental health, Roxanne says, is taking care of our bodies.  That includes trying to get good sleep, moving more than usual, and eating well.  When it comes to eating well, Roxanne reminds us to:

  • Limit sugar
  • Drink lots of water
  • Make sure your diet include vitamins like Vitamin D and Vitamin C that support brain function and immune function, respectively
  • Eat lean, healthy protein and healthy fats

Roxanne also has a YouTube channel where she is posting brain care tips.  Find her channel, Live Well Today Café, here:

If you find yourself in crisis, Roxanne has two suggestions for how to connect with someone right away.

  • Text HOME to 741741 to reach a trained crisis support person, day or night.
  • Call the TMC Crisis Line at 1-888-279-8188, day or night.

Here are some more resources that are available:

  • Truman Medical Center Behavioral Health 816-404-5905
  • Recovery Health Services- 816-404-5850; offers treatment and services for Opioid and Substance Use
  • TMC Behavioral Health’s Virtual Room of Refuge can be found here.
  • Compassionate Ear Warm Line 913-281-2251, while not a resource for someone in crisis, it is available for those wanting someone to talk to. It is open every evening of the year from 4pm to 10pm.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
  • My Strength- A digital behavioral health resource that empowers individuals with engaging, clinically-proven resources. Sign up for MyStrength online or try the app.

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