Dr. Bryce Branton shares advice for COVID-19
How should parents assist their children who have anxiety over the COVID-19 situation?
Be honest with them by discussing what is going on in an age-appropriate way. The entire world has some anxiety about COVID-19, so normalizing and validating their feelings will help. Share with them the tools that you have been using to manage your own anxiety.
What advice can you provide our readers to maintain their mental wellness?
• Make sure social distancing doesn’t turn into social isolation. Utilize phone and video calls to stay connected to friends and family.
• If you are home, maintain a schedule or routine. Wake up at a normal time, get prepared for the day, and give yourself a set of tasks to accomplish for the day to help keep your mind occupied. Include time to take breaks and to just relax.
• I’ve been recommending that my patients check the news only once per day from a reliable source. The constant stream of updates can be overwhelming.
What can you share for those affected long-term from the pressures of this crisis?
It is OK to grieve, and feeling sad and anxious about what is happening is normal. If you find that your stress or sadness is beginning to affect your ability to function or your relationships, I would encourage you to reach out to a local mental health professional. There is a wide variety of therapies available that are usually tailored to the individual person’s needs. In certain cases, medications are also prescribed.