5 Ways to Manage Stress From "Pandemic Panic," According to a Doctor

The coronavirus lockdown can be very challenging for one's mental health. Here's how to handle the stress.

The nearly nationwide lockdown brought about by the coronavirus pandemic has presented a number of challenges for many Americans. And while the focus has been on the virus's effect on our physical health, being cooped up and fearful is of course incredibly taxing on your mental health, too. "Pandemic panic" is a real thing, and accepting it as such is important for anyone currently struggling to manage their stress amid the surreal state of the world. Whether you're worried for your health, the health of those you love, or the financial straits this situation may have put you in, there is a lot weighing on all of our minds amid the coronavirus.

Earim Chaudry, MRCGP, medical director of Manual, a men's wellness platform in the U.K., says depression brought on by the current health crisis could present itself as sleep problems, headaches, anxiety, social withdrawal, changes in appetite, and changes in sex drive. To help you keep your mind healthy, Chaudry has provided some tips on how to best manage your mental health during this trying time. And for more advice on taking care of yourself, check out 17 Mental Health Tips for Quarantine From Therapists.

Maintain a routine.

woman stretching in bed

"Routine is your best friend right now," Chaudry said in a press release. "Currently, we're all living in a state of flux and feeling some loss of control—which is a completely natural byproduct of present circumstances! Remaining passive might worsen feelings of stress, but setting up a regular schedule will enable you to get back in the driver's seat."

Connect with people.

Happy adult man having a video call with a laptop

"This is an optimal time to reconnect with friends and loved ones," Chaudry noted. "There's an endless list of apps and chat services out there that can help you reconnect with the people close to you that you're not self-isolating with." And for more advice on staying connected, check out 7 Easy Ways to Stay Social While in Isolation, According to Experts.

Stay active.

man with face mask bending down to pet dog while on a walk

"Physical exercise is a great stress management tool," Chaudry said. "Exercise won't make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity you may be experiencing during this unique time." And if you're looking for ways to work out while quarantined, check out 23 Easy Exercises You Can Do at Home During Quarantine.

Avoid unhealthy habits.

woman buying wine at a supermarket

"When it comes to stress, alcohol is just a quick fix and can make you feel worse in the long run," explained Chaudry. "Generally, I'd recommend not counting on alcohol, smoking, and caffeine as your ways of coping as those can do long term damage to both your physical and emotional health." And for more things to avoid during this time, check out 15 Seemingly Innocuous Habits That Increase Coronavirus Risk.

Seek professional help if necessary.

senior woman talking to doctor via video chat

If you are feeling particularly depressed, then it's time to contact a medical professional. Telehealth options have never been more readily available and doctors are not only trained in the pschyosocial component of examinations, but during this pandemic, they're particularly accustomed to offering support.

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