JFS held conference on COVID-19

Jewish Family Service held a video conference on “How to Manage Isolation, Anxiety and Stress Around COVID-19” on May 1. The interactive video conference was lead by Rita Bleier, chairwoman of the Jewish Family Service Committee, and Rose Shea, the director of JFS. Both are licensed clinical social workers. 

During the video conference, it was noted that COVID-19 has brought many changes to people’s lives. “Keeping track of one’s mental health and coping is especially important,” said Shea. “Feeling stressed and anxious and having frequent mood changes are common reactions.”

The two leaders offered suggestions on ways to manage stress, anxiety and social distancing: 

  • Media exposure: With the abundance of information about COVID-19, it’s important to choose reliable medical resources and to limit our exposure.
  • Stick to a routine: Routines give us a sense of purpose: establish a wake-up time, get dressed and prepare for your day the same way as if you weren’t social distancing. Keep active, eat well and get rest.
  • Focus on the positives: Creating a positive mindset helps us to focus on things within our control. Take a moment to reflect on something you or someone did today that helped, or made someone smile. 
  • Stay socially connected: The way we interact with others has temporarily changed, but keeping in touch with those we care about is still possible. We can connect through telephone, e-mail and video chats.

Shea noted that COVID-19 can trigger emotions from other life events and/or losses. “It can be difficult at times, for various reasons, to share our emotions with our loved ones,” she said. “The way each of us responds may be different from our loved ones, friends, neighbors and colleagues. Yet each reaction is valid. It’s OK to reach out for help.”

Online resources are available to aide those having difficulty coping, including New York State Emotional Support, which can be reached at 1-844-866-9314. Headspace.com/NY offers free meditation, sleep and movement exercises. Additional resources may be available through a person’s primary physician, and individual and group psychology and social work practices. 

Although working from home, JFS remains open to provide resource referral, emotional support and telephone wellness calls three days a week.