How to cope with coronavirus stress

Mental health professionals say acknowledging the stress is the first step in coping with the pandemic.

Posted: Mar 21, 2020 11:07 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus is creating overwhelming levels of stress in our society, especially for those who deal with stress and anxiety on a daily basis. 

From possible unemployment and concerns over contracting the virus, people have a lot on their plate right now. 

Mental health professionals say acknowledging the stress is the first step in coping with the pandemic. 

“I would say that it’s okay for us to feel that things are getting overwhelming or stressed. It’s important for us to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and human sometimes instead of fight against it,” said Andrew Fisher, counselor. 

And when things are getting heavy, counselors suggest those feeling anxious about social distancing should do their best to imitate everyday routines, like going for a walk or reading a new book.

“Obviously we can’t do a lot of things that we’re prone to do when we feel really worked up or pent up, but if you can find some ways to create that culture of normalcy, that goes a long way,” said Fisher. 

Psychologists say it's important for parents to remember kids are being affected by the crisis too. 

“The less together we have it, the more anxious our kids are gonna be.The more that we’re ignoring them and looking at our devices and watching the news and anxious and on edge, it’s going to be twice as difficult for them as it is for us,” said Dr. Gregory Nawalanic,
University of Kansas Health system. 

Psychologists say the urge to stay informed all day long isn't good for our mental health.

Mental health professionals say simply putting down your phone and limiting your knowledge consumption will help reduce your anxiety.  

“The temptation is to gobble up every single nugget of information you can find in any media source and the reality is you might be better served by just tuning into the evening broadcast which will give you a nice package of all the information from the day rather than taking it piecemeal throughout the course of the day,” said Nawalanic. 

Andrew Fisher is still holding in-person sessions and making sure to stay six feet apart from his clients, but says most of his therapy sessions have gone digital. 

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A weak front will move out of northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas Sunday morning giving the region a slight chances for showers before sunrise. A southeast wind will pick up Sunday around 10 to 15 mph, sunshine will return, and temperatures will warm into the upper 70s.
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