FARGO — Maintaining a sense of calm during a worldwide medical crisis can be difficult for most anyone.
People dealing with anxiety, depression or any other mental health condition might see their struggles magnify during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Experts in the field say there are strategies they can use, however, to help themselves at this time.
Renae Reinardy, a licensed psychologist and director of Lakeside Center for Behavioral Change in Fargo, said patients should keep working on the goals set with their therapist, even if they're not meeting with them right now.
For those who haven’t worked with a therapist, good resources are available online.
Dr. Andrew McLean, clinical professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences, also suggests smartphone apps that can help with relaxation and mindfulness.
Reinardy offers these tips to try to stay mentally healthy during these uncertain time:
Practice good self-care: Such as exercising and eating healthy meals. Don’t rely on unhealthy or maladaptive behaviors to cope, such as using alcohol or drugs.
Maintain or establish routine: For those with an off-farm job or schooling that has been disrupted, try to get back to a routine of getting up at the same time each day, and get ready as you normally would.
McLean provides these tips for different age groups:
For preschool and early grades: They will be worried about grandma and grandpa. Reassure them that you’re doing your best to keep them safe. No need to give them too much information. Regressive behavior, including bed-wetting and sleep difficulty, is a normal response to an abnormal situation.
For adolescents to young adults: Remind children that by being isolated, they’re actually being helpful to the community. With their savviness for social media, try to monitor where they’re finding information. There’s a lot of misinformation out there.
For parents: We’re going to make mistakes, we’re going to be a bit more irritable. Know that we’re doing our best.
For senior citizens: While they’re more at risk from a physical standpoint, they’re also at risk for isolation. Do virtual visits when possible. Also, remember there is wisdom to be gained from them, because they’ve gone through times of significant challenge.