Protecting Our Mental Health While Dealing with Covid-19

While shelter-in-place orders are temporary, there are steps we can take to protect our mental health as we grapple with the stressors of living through the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Dr. Rachel Talamantez is the Senior Manager with the Santa Clara County Department of Behavioral Health, and she said that maintaining hope will help in the long run.

“We look to the future in terms of thinking about how we manage longer term stress,” Dr. Talamantez said.

In the live, Santa Clara County video broadcast on Facebook, she emphasized the importance for caregivers to practice self-care, reminding them that such considerations shouldn’t be seen as selfish. 

“The first thing is that you have to make sure that you, as the caregiver, need to make sure you are well, that you are emotionally balanced, that you are healthy,” she said. “You have support systems, and when you are calm, that helps you respond to your children in a calm way.”

Dr. Talamantez said that the instinct to fill our pantries and buy paper towels are part of a fight and protect response. College kids coming home to harbor are part of the flee response, and those deer-in-the-headlight moments are a freeze response to stress.  

She added that behavior is communication, with fussiness and irritability from kids as potential signs of stress and the need for extra support.  

“And so children are able to tell us in some ways that they need extra support or that they are feeling stressed,” she explained.   

The entire interview by Mego Lein with Dr. Talamantez is available on the Santa Clara County Public Health Department Facebook page.