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Feeling Stressed? You’re Not Alone.

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Dealing with Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

By Tina Lechnir, LCSW, Regional Director, Behavioral Health Services, Ascension Wisconsin - Fox Valley Region
Originally published on 11/24/2021 at 1:30 p.m.

It’s important for us to take time every now and then to pause, reflect and look for ways to address stress.

As a clinical social worker working in the behavioral health field, I can tell you that you’re not alone if you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress. In fact, 67% of Americans shared that they experienced increased stress over the course of the pandemic.


Here are some reminders to curb the negative effects of stress.

Recognize your feelings

It may initially seem helpful to try ignoring you feeling stressed, but a good first step to addressing any problem is to simply acknowledge something that needs your attention.

Maintain your physical health

Your body and mind function better with nourishing food, regular exercise and consistent sleep. Remember to rest and relax when you feel tired or stressed out. Avoid using drugs and alcohol to cope because that can make problems worse.

Connect with others

Reach out to friends and family on a regular basis. Talk with them about how you’re feeling and what you’re going through. If you feel safe meeting in person, then schedule some time together to reconnect.

Take a break

If you’re able to reduce the stressors themselves, do it. For example, if watching or reading the news is causing you too much stress, turn off the TV, disable breaking news notifications on your phone and turn on a funny movie, read a book, or go for a walk outside.

It’s also important to recognize when you need additional support. Professional counseling services can help and are essential if the problems continue or get worse. Individual therapy is one option for someone looking for help on a one-to-one basis. Participating in group therapy offers another alternative to learn from others who may be struggling with similar issues.

If you or someone you know are thinking about harming yourself or others, seek professional help immediately or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

There are also many resources available in our community to address chronic stress and mental health, including virtual care options at Ascension Wisconsin. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We’re here for you if you need us.

About the Author

Tina Lechnir, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker and the regional director of behavioral health at Ascension Wisconsin. In the Fox Valley and Oshkosh area, Ascension behavioral health specialists provide crisis and addiction interventions for children, adolescents and adults. To learn more about Ascension Wisconsin's behavioral health services in the region, click here.


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