The most immediate impact of COVID-19 is the physical distress and pain caused by the disease. Then, of course, there is the effect that mitigating this virus has had on the economy and on our relationships, causing businesses to shut down and friends to remain distanced.
But there’s another area of life that COVID-19 has touched, and it matters just as much as any other: your mental health.
The adoption process is not always easy. Choosing adoption for your baby was a brave choice, and we know how difficult it can be. Then, on top of the emotional weight of adoption and the physical toll of pregnancy, you have to deal with the added stress of a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic.
How in the world are you supposed to do that?
It’s a fair question, and it’s one that our specialists are hearing a lot. This whole situation isn’t fair, and it’s not easy to deal with. The best thing you can do is to speak with your specialist and potentially get connected with other forms of counseling.
In the meantime, our hope is to provide some practical ways for you to relieve stress and find genuine peace during a time when everything feels so overwhelming.
Call Your Adoption Specialist
American Adoptions is here for you. From the beginning of your adoption journey to placement and beyond, your adoption specialist is your go-to call in times of need, and that includes when you need to speak to a professional about the anxiety, fear or depression you are feeling.
We’re all learning how to cope with COVID-19, and our specialists are hard at work applying their years of counseling experience to benefit prospective birth mothers like you. Does the weight of the world and your adoption process feel especially heavy right now? Call your specialist today.
Develop Healthy Eating and Exercise Habits
Our mental state and our physical well-being are intimately connected. While binging Netflix and filling up on comfort food may feel like the right course of action, developing healthy habits related to activity and eating can go a long way toward improving your mental health. Some studies have even found that regular exercise works as well as medication for reducing anxiety.
If regular exercise isn’t something you’re used to, getting started is often the hardest part. Try something simple, like a 20-minute brisk walk in the morning, to get yourself going.
Developing healthy habits can also have benefits for your baby, as studies have shown that reduced levels of glucose can result in better growth for the baby.
Find Ways to Maintain Relationships
It may be important to stay physically distanced because of COVID-19, but remember to find new ways to maintain your most important relationship. Social connection is vital to mental health, as feelings of loneliness can exacerbate anxiety and depression.
Socially distanced relationships require more intentionality. You can’t just bump into each other at a store or restaurant anymore. That means that you should plan video call hangouts days ahead of time to make sure these important connections don’t slip through the cracks.
Of course, there’s also room for impromptu texts, phone calls, Snapchats or video calls. Make an extra effort to share as much of your day with your close friends as you can, especially those who know about and support your adoption plan. It will help everyone ward off a sense of loneliness.
How many hours of sleep are you getting each night? A good night’s sleep — which is between 7–9 hours for adults — can have significant benefits to your overall health during pregnancy and your mental health while juggling the multiple stressors of adoption placement and COVID-19.
Sleep has been shown to reduce stress in multiple studies. When our bodies are sleep deprived, they release hormones to keep us awake that also put our bodies on high alert, essentially operating from a constant state of stress. If you find yourself constantly on edge, getting a solid eight hours of rest may significantly improve your mood the next day.
Do you find it hard to get a good night’s rest? There are several strategies you could try to make things better. Try developing a regularly nightly routine, if your schedule allows for it. For instance, decaffeinated tea, followed by a shower and a book, can help calm your mind. Over time, your body will begin to prepare for sleep as you make this routine into a habit.
Other quick tips for getting better sleep include limiting screen time within an hour of going to bed, cutting out caffeine after lunch and eating an early dinner.
Contact Us Today
It’s important to note that these actions cannot totally eliminate the anxiety and stress you are feeling. Rather, taken together, they create a foundation for a healthy lifestyle that supports greater peace-of-mind and confidence.
The complex emotional trauma brought on by COVID-19 in addition to your adoption journey can be a real challenge to handle. But with the right practices, and a strong connection with your adoption specialist, you can be proactive in reclaiming your emotional health.
If you’re a prospective birth mother still looking for the support of a specialist, you can call us today at 1-800-ADOPTION.