Coping with stress during turbulent times

Mental Health

Most of us have never lived through a time like this with an insurrection, possible impeachment, rising COVID numbers and a troubled roll-out process for the vaccine.

So it’s no wonder many are turning to self medicating by over-eating, drinking too much, abusing drugs and smoking marijuana or cigarettes.

Dr. Jeff Gardere, a noted psychologist, said this is one of “the most stressed out times in our recent history.”

“A new poll found that out of 2,000 people, 1 in 6 sought out therapy in 2020,” Dr. Gardere said. “It is quite obvious that people are hurting emotionally, looking for something to help them stabilize.”

Dr. Gardere said there are so many ways to deal with the stress in our lives: eating healthy foods, getting routine exercise, meditating, praying or staying connected with friends, family, loved ones and your community.

Many are turning to tele-medicine and tele-therapy.

“Social distancing does not mean social isolation,” Dr. Gardere said.

He’s not the only one who’s noticed an uptick in stressed behaviors.

“Women are drinking more during the pandemic for sure,” Erin Ranta, an alcoholic in recovery, told PIX11 News. “It’s just women have so much stress and pressure on them to do everything so I believe a lot of women are using it to cope with stress.”

A recent study found a 41 percent increase in women drinking in the first three months of the pandemic. Another study found that hard liquor sales up at least 33 percent and wine up 12 percent.

Ranta, a host and member of the Facebook group Sober Mom Squad, said membership numbers have exploded since March.

Ranta leads a Saturday night discussion group at the Sober Mom Squad Facebook page to help others cope.

“Offering community and offering other tools to fall back on instead of reaching for the drink,” Ranta told PIX11 News. “Because alcohol is addictive and many people don’t realize that and it is frightening.”

There are so many ways to deal with the stress in our lives: you could join a support group, see a therapist or just go out for a walk on a sunny afternoon.

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