MCALLEN, Texas – COVID-19 hasn’t taken a physical toll on anyone in the Rio Grande Valley, but it is jeopardizing many people’s mental health who are stressing out over the unknown.
Joseph Garcia, South Texas Health Clinical Services Director, “When we start thinking to ourselves that we need to stock-pile and we need to buy all the groceries that we can because it’s going to last until August from what I’ve been hearing. That’s when we know we are stressed, when we’re excessively worrying about something to the point that it’s derailing us from our normal day activity.”
Garcia says stress comes in many forms and some may not even realize it.
“One of the silent things that is an indicator that shows we’re stressed is constantly seeking reassurance.”
Garcia says constantly refreshing your phones for new updates increases stress and anxiety levels.
“Many of us start looking at numbers and start paying attention to mortality rates. We often neglect the fact that throughout the spread more than 80,000 individuals that have tested positive for the virus have showed minimal to no symptoms have made a full recovery.”
He shares some of the signs a person shows when they’re stressed.
“We are looking at sleep deprivation, excessive worry or guilt, panic. Our thoughts are going to fuel our emotions and our emotions are going to fuel our behavior.”
Garcia encourages those mentally affected by COVID-19 to keep themselves active and engage in positive conversations with loved ones.
“Exercising, singing, dancing. I know some of us do it behind closed doors in the shower but if it makes you feel good, do it. Express yourself in various forms.”
Garcia also recommends not looking up your symptoms online as this can sometimes make things seem worse than what they are and encourages you to seek your doctor instead.
As a reminder, Hidalgo County has set up a hotline regarding COVID-19 questions and concerns. Valley residents can call 956-292-7765.