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  • Sayanti Bhattacharya MD

Dealing with pandemic stress?

A lot of my patients, friends and family are struggling with increased anxiety and stress. As the situation we find ourselves in will likely last for a while, I expect to see an increase in the number of people struggling with mental health challenges in context of the pandemic.

Here are some recommendations on dealing with anxiety during the Coronavirus pandemic: 1. You are not alone in feeling nervous: Feeling anxious and vulnerable in a situation like this is an expected and understandable response. Periods of uncertainty and transition are challenging for most people. Be kind to yourself and to others. 2. Limit access to news updates: If you are feeling overwhelmed with daily developments, try to limit your social media feed and news updates to 2-3 times per day. While it is important to be informed, live, continuous updates can be exhausting to keep up with and cause distress. 3. Try to focus on things you can do: Follow the guidelines on social distancing, hand washing, etc. and ensure your loved ones are doing the same. Educate people; share factual information rather than emotional responses. Are there ways in which you can help with the shortage of masks, scrubs etc. for health professionals? 4. Plan ahead for staying home: How can you make this time interesting and worthwhile for yourself and your family? TV shows, board games, art, reading, music, walking/biking outside, cooking are some ideas. Are there projects around the house you could take on? 5. Work on accepting the situation: Many people struggle in situations where they feel a loss of control. Practice being flexible and adaptable, and focus on doing the best you can in the current circumstances. 6. Shift your perspective: Try to look at this as an opportunity to spend time with yourself and your loved ones, or to engage in creative pursuits or hobbies that you may not have had the time to explore. 7. Maintain a schedule: This will help maintain a sense of normalcy and order in your life. Even if you are working from home, get dressed for work, and set up a temporary office in a corner in your home. Try to keep your work area separate from the parts of your home where you relax (your couch, your bed). 8. Get professional help: If your anxiety is getting in the way of your life and functioning, or even if you are able to function but at the cost of feeling exhausted, on edge and irritated at most times get professional help. Both therapy and medications can be very helpful for treating anxiety.

Feel free to contact me for an appointment.

Stay healthy and safe Sayanti Bhattacharya MD, MS

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