How to cope with anxiety

David Statum 

Mental health professional David Statum, of Coffee County, offered some tips to deal with stress and anxiety.

“It is completely ‘normal’ to feel stress in times like these,” Statum said. “We are naturally social, created to interact with one another, so social distancing can feel odd to us.”

And the situation is even more intensified when you add boredom, being alone and worry to the feeling of isolation, he said.

“The uncertainty and constant media attention associated with the coronavirus pandemic can be hard to escape, so even common interactions with others can become strained,” Statum said. “Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.”

The CDC offers guidelines and helpful information for those who feel stress during these days.

“Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, changes in sleep or eating patterns, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, worsening of chronic health problems, and increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs,” Statum said. “People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. Always consult your mental healthcare provider with any concerns that you may have about your mental health. Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress.”

Helping others cope with their stress can make the community stronger, he added.

“Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media,” Statum said. “Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.”

Take care of your body.

“Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate,” he said. “Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.”

Make time to unwind.

“Try to do some other activities you enjoy,” Statum said. “Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.”

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