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Don't Forget About Your Mental Health During COVID-19 Crisis

  • Category: Ask the Expert
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Brittany Garcia

We are experiencing an unprecedented time in our country. The novel coronavirus is spreading rapidly, causing Americans to experience a higher than normal level of anxiety. Jeremy Ernst, DO of Marshall Psychiatry says, “I assure you that feeling anxiety right now is a natural response to the unknown. It’s normal to feel unsettled and spend time worrying about what we may face next week or next month as this situation progresses.”

“While anxiety levels are starting to peak, there are plenty of things you can do to help mitigate some of those feelings and help you feel more in control of your situation,” adds Dr. Ernst and offers the following tips:

  • Limit the amount of time you spend watching or reading the news. While it’s important to stay informed, choose one nightly news program from a reputable source.

  • Gain a sense of control by doing what you can to protect yourself and your family. This includes practicing good hygiene, sanitizing high touch surfaces frequently, self-isolating in your home and practicing social distancing when you need to leave home for food and other necessities.

  • Focus on the positive. Start a journal and write three things each day that you’re grateful for. It can be easy to spin your thoughts around all the negative out there right now, but don’t forget that there are blessings all around you as well.

  • Use a de-stressing or meditation app. These apps can guide you through mediation or breathing exercises and even help track your mood and daily activity.

  • Move your body and eat as healthy as you can. If you’re working from home or simply sheltering in place until this passes, get off your couch regularly. Take your dogs or kids for a walk, stream an exercise video, or anything else that you enjoy. Eat plenty of whole foods, fruits and vegetables and avoid alcohol. While having a glass of wine at the end of a stressful day may seem to relax you, it can increase your level of anxiety the next day.

  • Try an acupressure mat. There are plenty of brands available online and lying on one for just 20 minutes will release endorphins, your body’s natural anti-anxiety chemicals.

Should you feel you need to speak with a licensed psychiatrist about the feelings you are having, call Marshall Psychiatry at 530-626-2844 to make an appointment.