Ask the Doc: Managing stress, anxiety during COVID-19

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Our Lady of the Lake Physician Dr. Rani Whitfield joined NBC Local33 News Today, Friday, to talk about how people can manage any stress or anxiety they may be feeling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Whitfield says those at highest risk include:
    •    Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19
    •    Children and teens
    •    People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors, nurses, other health care providers, and first responders
    •    People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance abuse history

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include
    •    Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
    •    Fear and worry about employment/finances
    •    Changes in sleep or eating patterns
    •    Difficulty concentrating
    •    Worsening of chronic health problems
    •    Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

Things you can do to support yourself
    •    Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
    •    Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. 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.
    •    Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
    •    Stick to a regular schedule as much as possible (it’s easy to take naps when working from home)

If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call:
    •    Your health care provider
    •    Call 911
    •    Visit the Disaster Distress Helpline or call 1-800-985-5990 and TTY 1-800-846-8517; Or text TalkWithUs to 66746
    •    Visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline or call 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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