COVID-19′s emotional toll: Expert weighs in on how to cope

COVID-19′s emotional toll: Expert weighs in on how to cope

With COVID-19 cases on the rise and parts of our region going back into shutdown mode, it’s not just taking a financial toll -- but an emotional one as well.

Channel 11′s Angie Moreschi talked with an expert to find out how best to cope with the pandemic.

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“People are experiencing more frustration, more anger, sadness, despair,” said Dr. Alicia Kaplan, an anxiety expert with Allegheny Health Network.

People are becoming frustrated with the behavior of others, such as some not wearing masks. However, Kaplan said you can only control what you can control, so the best advice is to focus on your behavior.

“Having a daily structure is important. Get up, get dressed, get out of the house, even if it’s just a little bit of time,” Kaplan said. “Family time ... trying to get a regular sleep schedule.”

Kaplan told Channel 11 getting enough sleep is especially important.

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“If we con’t get a good night’s sleep, we’re not going to feel rested. We’re going to feel sluggish and maybe even more emotional the next day,” she said.

With going back to school in question and people continuing to work from home, Kaplan suggests making a priority to stay in touch with others and to avoid the “rut” that isolation can cause.

“The problem is we can get in our own head and feel a little bit more lethargic or sad,” Kaplan said. “As human beings, we really need the comfort of each other.”

Another piece of advice is to control how much social media and negative news you take in, and know when it is time to take a break.

“We have to understand for ourselves the anxiety triggers that can make us feel sad or embarrassed or anxious,” Kaplan said. “Step away, there’s nothing that has to commit you to that.”

And Kaplan’s final tip: be patient with yourself and others. We’re all in this together, so step back, give yourself and those around you a break, and eventually we will get through this.

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