How to cope with anxiety surrounding COVID-19 pandemic - FOX34 Lubbock

How to cope with anxiety surrounding COVID-19 pandemic

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

As the city sees a steady increase of COVID-19 cases and more businesses shut down, leaders are urging you to stay calm and protect your mental health.

At the city's update this weekend, David Trotter, a psychologist with the City of Lubbock, said it is normal to feel some worry during this pandemic.

"These are stress-provoking times, a lot of changes, and I think its pretty common for people to feel a bit out of sorts," Trotter said.

Some emotional symptoms of significant stress can include feeling anxious, worrying, being fearful, irritable and sad, he said.

"Sometimes we see behavioral changes, so difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite," Trotter said. "With children, our kiddos, often times, they report a lot of physical symptoms. It can be things like an upset tummy or a headache."

Ashley Bryant, a psychotherapist, said allowing your anxiety to fester can not only hurt your mental health, but your physical health.

"Anxiety can cause you to be immunocompromised, which can also make it a little bit difficult for you to fight off some of those physical illnesses," Bryant said.

One way to reduce your anxiety is limiting the amount of media and social media you consume. She said striking a good balance can prevent you from getting overwhelmed.

"Another thing we want to make sure we do is talk to someone we know," Bryant said. "If we feel like we're getting overwhelmed, then talking to someone can help relieve a little bit of the anxiety, also reaching out to a mental health professional. A lot of mental health providers are still seeing clients virtually."

Bryant also said be present in the moment, focus on things you can control and take reasonable steps like following hygiene procedures.

"Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that worrying about things won't change the situation. A lot of anxiety is rooted in fear, and with so many things being unknown about COVID-19, it can cause a lot of anxiety to increase in individuals," Bryant said.

If you are experiencing severe stress, Trotter said seek professional help. That can include calling your doctor, a mental health provider or even 9-1-1.

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