During times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, uncertainty can lead to tremendous stress. We often don’t understand the situation, get conflicting information or simply don’t know how to process the news. On top of that, many people are self-isolating. All of this can lead to even more stress, anxiety and depression.
And we know that everyone is affected. In her address on Monday, April 6, Gov. Kristi Noem, announced a new executive order that will put additional restrictions on community interactions and travel.
Noem acknowledged that she understands how difficult such restrictions will be—on businesses and individuals—and encouraged those who are dealing with heightened stress due to COVID-19, to take care of their mental health and well-being.
At Sanford Lab, we understand that this is a stressful and trying time, and we care about your mental and physical health. In an effort to help you better deal with the new and often frightening environment, our Environment, Safety and Health team put together some tips and resources.
See our complete list of COVID-19 resources and information for employees.
If you need help now, the Employee Assistance Program offers support, guidance and other resources.
"We all know someone who may be struggling to deal with the challenges this pandemic has created," said Mike Headley, executive director. "Our SDSTA Employee Assistance Program can be accessed easily and without having to notify a supervisor or human resources."
At the end of this article, you’ll find a 5-Minute Safety Talk from the National Safety Council that outlines several steps you can take to minimize stress.
You may also want to consider contacting a mental health professional.
Here are few additional resources for dealing with stress:
Exercise can help
We live in a wonderful part of the world. Walking and other forms of exercise are a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. Take a walk on one of the many trails in the area, or just around your neighborhood. There are also many easy exercise programs on YouTube and other online sites.
- Mayo Clinic: Using exercise to manage stress
20 Days of Gratitude
It may also be helpful to think about the things for which we are grateful. In May 2019, we kicked off the 20 Days of Gratitude initiative as a way to promote mental and emotional health. We created a form where employees could leave notes of appreciation about co-workers, the workplace, observed Random Acts of Kindness and Pay-it-Forward actions—all to help boost morale.
The site has been reopened so you can connect with others and let them know you are thinking about them.
Sometimes, just hearing a friendly voice or seeing a loved one can be helpful, and there are many ways to do this with current technology. Although it’s certainly not the same, it can be a great way to remain connected.
Here are just a few ways to see the people you love:
- Facetime (iPhone)
- Google hangouts (free and group calling)
- Zoom (you can set up personal accounts for free)
- Facebook Messenger
Remember, there are many resources out there to help during this time and we encourage you take advantage of them.
Sanford Lab Safety Coordinator, Michelle Andresen contributed to this article.