Staying Connected and Positive During COVID-19 Physical Distancing and Shelter-in-Place

May 8, 2020 

With almost a month of social distancing and shelter-in-place orders behind us and another month or possibly more ahead, it is of critical importance to maintain emotional and mental health by staying positive and grateful, adapting to new ways to connect, and reaching out for help when needed.  

Stay Positive 
Discuss experiences and feelings with loved ones, keep a daily gratitude journal, and practice mindfulness and relaxation exercises.  

Develop a Virtual Support Network 
Create a group text or phone tree with your family, neighbors, or friends and reach out occasionally to check on each other.  

Take Virtual Tours 
Like most other businesses, museums and parks all over the world have closed to support social distancing orders. You can still get a healthy dose of culture and nature with these online tours. The Smithsonian has put together a list of venues that offer robust virtual tours. Google Earth is offering virtual tours of 31 national parks. Google Arts and Culture has tons of virtual tours and countless hours of exploration for all ages. 

Learn Something New 
Find a topic or skill of interest such as painting, baking, building that can be taught by friends and family through video calls. 

Write Old School Pen and Paper Letters or Virtual Blogs 
When was the last time you mailed someone a letter?  Find a pen pal and send letters back and forth. There are also countless blog services that are available and completely free. Create a blog between you and your loved ones and write virtual letters to each other. 

Reach Out to the Various Resources at Marin Health and Human Services If You Have No One to Contact 
The physical spaces at Marin HHS may be closed, but they are still available to help.  Here are the various phone numbers to call: 

Behavioral Health & Recovery Services Access Line: 1-888-818-1115
Crisis Stabilization Unit: 415-473-6666
California Peer Run Warmline: 855-845-7415
Community Action Marin Peer Support Warmline (9am to Midnight, 7 days a week): 415-459-6330
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

Source: Marin County Health and Human Services 

Managing Anxiety and Stress During Coronavirus

April 2, 2020

Update: Here are some additional emotional support resources from UCSF's Psychiatry Department.

March 18, 2020

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children alike. Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.

Things you can do to support yourself

  • Take breaks: It is helpful to take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.

  • Your feelings are normal: Feeling stressed, depressed, guilty, or angry is common after an event like an infectious disease outbreak, even when it does not directly threaten you. 

  • Take care of your body: Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.

  • Make time to unwind: Engage in pleasurable hobbies or other activities you enjoy.

  • Connect with others: Talk with people you trust about your concerns and especially how you are feeling. Leverage technology (phone, video calling, emails, texts, etc.) to stay in touch and enjoy conversations, to remind yourself of the many positive things in your lives. 

Additional information can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website.