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Apr 9, 2020

Healthy Living: Tips for Pandemic Stress

The COVID-19 pandemic has usurped everyone’s attention. It’s on local and international television; it’s all over social media and the main topic of every group chat, and even at dinner time. This pandemic has drastically changed our routines. It has robbed thousands of an income and left us all a little or a lot anxious about our well-being and the safety of our loved ones. The pandemic stress is real, and tonight in Healthy Living, we get some advice from a professional how to stay sane amidst it all. 

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Have you been feeling more irritable than usual? Short-tempered? How about more tired? Are you eating more? Sleeping more? Well, if you are, you are not alone. These types of changes, among many others, are common when we are overwhelmed.

Deshane Lopez, Clinical Psychologist

“Because we’re experiencing a global trauma, we will see acute cases of PTSD, which is a post-traumatic stress disorder. We’re going through an acute trauma because it is current.”

According to clinical psychologist Deshane Lopez, the way this pandemic has upended our lives and left us in a lingering state of uncertainty; it is understandable that we may all be experiencing feelings of anxiety and depression. She outlines three things we can all do to keep ourselves sane during this crisis.

Number one: make a list of the things you can control

 

Deshane Lopez

“Create a table to assess the things that you can do and the things you cannot do. Often times, we feel anxious because we feel like we have no control. And so writing the things that you can control is a good reminder for you. It also helps your mind relax, and while you’re engaging in this activity by the time you are finished completing it, you’ll feel more relaxed just by thinking of the things you can control.”

Number two: practice deep breathing

 

Deshane Lopez

“The second one, one that I use, is deep breathing. Research has shown that it helps to reset the physiological changes that your body experiences. So when we’re in that state of distress when we are anxious. We have a lot of physiological changes, we sweat more, our heartbeat increases, we’re unable to concentrate properly. Then we start to notice even the blood flow in our body and are very sensitive to the changes that are taking place in our body. When you engage in deep breathing, you’re breathing from the stomach and not the chest, and what that does is helps to calm the entire body.”

Number three: stop the information overload

 

Deshane Lopez

“The third thing I would like to recommend is to take time away from the internet. Or if you do go on the internet, don’t go n Facebook, don’t go on the news, don’t go on YouTube for the latest update, take a pause. That pause is very important because it gives you time to process the feelings that you are feeling at this moment. You do understand that there are so many different emotions. By putting pause, you are stopping the trauma from coming in, and you’re dealing with what you are feeling at this point.  You don’t need to have day to day or minute to minute updates, you don’t need to do that if you are practicing social distancing, you are staying at home. Then you are pretty much safe at home. You can also give your self-time and just check in maybe every other day. For those people that do have a diagnosis of anxiety or depression continue to use the strategies that you’ve been learning in therapy throughout this time.”

Lastly, if you’re so overwhelmed and you need to discuss what you’re going through with a professional, Gutierrez and other psychologists are available for virtual sessions.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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