In these extraordinary and difficult times, I wanted to take a moment to reach out to all of you. I hope that everyone is safe and that families are together to the extent possible as we all hunker down to wait out the worst of the coronavirus epidemic.
Almost everyone in the world (no exaggeration!) is experiencing heightened anxiety right now, especially with regard to their health. For many people, their income may also be threatened. Lots of people are struggling with feeling hopeless and unmotivated, as normal routines, social connections and work productivity are disrupted.
I want to remind everyone that there is no better time to access a free digital health app that is designed to help counter anxiety, depression, and hypersensitivity to physical symptoms.
If you didn’t work through all the modules, now is a good time to pick it back up and finish.The later modules are the ones most likely to be helpful for general anxiety and depression.
I’d also like to share the general advice that I am giving all of my private practice patients (via HIPAA compliant, secure telehealth of course).
1.First, stay as physically active as you can. Go for walks outside (but avoid others as much as possible - we need to socially distance!). Take that online yoga class you’ve been meaning to try (bonus – no need to feel anxious or embarrassed about farting if you’re in a room by yourself!)
2.Second, stay engaged socially. Use Skype or Facetime or other platforms to reach out frequently to family and friends. I’ve talked to my parents (who are in their 80s) and my oldest son (who is in graduate school in another state) more in the last week than the last 6 months. That’s a silver lining.
3.Third, to the extent that you can, stay productive and engaged. If you can work remotely, do it. If you can’t work remotely, or have been laid off, find productive projects to do at home. That linen closet or basement could definitely use a deep cleaning and decluttering.
4.Finally, try as much as you can to stick to a regular schedule during the week. Set your alarm (ok, maybe a little later than you would if you were getting kids on the bus and/or commuting to work) but get up at the same (reasonable) time every day. Program in exercise, chores, and connecting with other people. Mark it on your daily calendar, and stick to it.
5.Lastly, remember not to catastrophize. This situation is very serious from a public health perspective. But for the vast majority of individuals, even if you get the virus, it will be mild to moderate, and certainly not life-threatening. If you’d like a nice perspective on this, read this article by my colleague Dr Martin Seligman.
If you have questions or concerns that our team may be able to address, please feel free to be in touch.
Dr Melissa Hunt