Stress and feeling more isolated can lead to more drinking, opioid use, and other substance use, so naturally we’re concerned that people are using more substances these days. Nationally, alcohol sales have increased during covid, and recent surveys (some of which are pretty small but support each other’s findings) indicate that parents of school-age children have been drinking more alcohol.* Since parents and kids are home together, it seems likely that kids and teens are seeing more alcohol consumption, which can be a risk factor for increased use in young people. We also wonder about teen substance use and are concerned that opioid-related overdoses have also been increasing recently.
Healthy stress reduction, supporting each other, and reducing stigma so people feel more comfortable seeking help are more important than ever.
What helps to reduce stress, especially during this pandemic?
Looking for ways to boost your happiness today? Here is a digital flyer that we created with a short list of tips, inspired by past training and a variety of online information.
How Toxic Stress Affects Us and What We Can Do About It
Aimed at parents and caregivers, this video is under 4 minutes and includes the basics of toxic stress and some ideas for dealing with it, focusing on reaching out for support. From Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.
Dealing with parenting stress during COVID-19 – This article has practical tips for dealing with stress as a parent or caregiver during covid with a supportive tone.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Calming Anxiety – Another list of tips for parents and caregivers dealing with stress during covid. This one has options for listening to the whole thing (in a computerized voice) or reading the page in Spanish.
25 Fun Mindfulness Activities for Children and Teens – A user-friendly article from PositivePsychology.com that includes a bunch of tips for activities to do with kids and teens. Mindfulness can reduce stress and these are fun ways to try it together.
CDC Guidance on Coping with Stress During the Pandemic – This page has a lot of basic information on stress, anxiety, and mental health, including tips for coping and national hotlines for a variety of issues.
*Survey Info About Increases in Drinking During COVID-19
Some of the surveys are pretty small, but they support each other’s findings.
Here is info on one from Maryland that’s available online. This notes that parents of school-age children who were feeling stressed by distance learning were more likely to drink.
Also, a recent nationwide survey of adults in the U.S. that compared adults’ alcohol consumption in February to April confirmed that many adults increased their drinking and drank more excessively after pandemic lock downs started. Being female, Black, or having children in the household was associated with significant increases, and the largest increases in alcohol consumption were among people who were not drinking in excess of recommended guidelines in February. Citation: Barbosa, C, Cowell, A, Dowd, W. How Has Drinking Behavior Changed During the COVID-19 Pandemic? Results from a Nationally Representative survey. RTI International, July 2020.