Commentary:Psychological vigilance during Covid-19 pandemic

  • Published
  • By Tiffany Williams, LCSW - 307th Bomb Wing Director of Psychological Health
  • 307th Bomb Wing

It is especially important to remain psychologically vigilant during this time as isolation can be emotionally challenging for some.  Changes in daily routines, minimal contact with friends and family members, and financial struggles from being newly unemployed can be extremely difficult when compiled with everyday stressors.  There is also added anxiety caused by fear of Coronavirus infection, not knowing how long the mandated stay at home order will last, and worry regarding socioeconomic recovery.  Considering this is one of the most difficult times we have faced, such signs of stress are normal.  However, they may require added attention in order to navigate them in a healthy, productive manner.

Psychological vigilance can be described as carefully monitoring one’s own psychological well-being or the well-being of another person.  Recognizing increased stress or anxiety is the first step in understanding how to best handle this isolation period.  It is common to experience excessive worry, increased irritability, decreased energy, or difficulty concentrating.  The body’s response to stress can be noticed by frequent headaches, the inability to sleep, overeating, or not eating enough.  It is important to be aware of your body’s response to stress in order to combat it appropriately, as everyone’s body does not react to stress in the same manner.

Once you are aware of how stress is directly impacting your life during this time, you can create a roadmap to psychological relief. One of the greatest ways to alleviate stress is to pace yourself by creating realistic expectations and positive thought processing. Mindfulness exercises, such as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, visual imagery, and musical stimulation are just a few ways to alleviate mental fatigue.

Although many spas and gyms are closed, physical stress relief can be achieved by creating home exercise routines or soaking in a warm aromatherapy bath. It is also equally important to remain connected to loved ones for social and emotional support.  Although you may be physically disconnected from friends and family, be creative in your efforts to remain connected to your loved ones.  Video chatting via FaceTime, Facebook live, and Zoom are great ways to remain socially connected.  These platforms can create a sense of connectedness to get you through these uncertain times.

If you are having difficulty managing stress, or if you are in need of additional resources, please contact me.  Phone sessions and video sessions are available to you! All sessions are non-clinical (no records are kept) and confidential (unless harm to self or others is disclosed).  It is especially important that we remain connected during this time and continue to foster a resilient environment!

I can always be reached on my duty cell phone at 318-218-7307.  In addition,307th Bomb Wing members can contact me through the 307th Bomb Wing app.  Simply tap the Psychological Health button and fill out the Contact Us form.  Your email will reach me directly and I will get in touch with you as soon as possible.