How experts suggest you go about dealing with pandemic stress


CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – One Lowcountry counselor said she’s seeing an uptick in people struggling with mental health issues as people continue to isolate themselves amidst the pandemic.

Karon Anderson is a professional counselor and the owner of Lowcountry Therapeutic Associates. She said she’s seeing more people struggle with anxiousness over a series of issues they’re dealing with because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“Lots of worry about what the world is coming to. Lots of worry about their future. Lots of concern about family. So that’s really what I’m seeing,” Anderson said. “I have also seen clients that have lost jobs and are extremely stressed out and really depressed, not sure about their future.”

Experts advise going for walks, remaining active, and getting outdoors to relieve stress.

“Running, walking, biking, all those sorts of activities will help make us happier and able to put what we’re dealing with right now in a proper perspective. It’s important to incorporate that physical activity,” Anderson said. “Projects at home, starting a new business. Why not? Why not use that time that we have to make it a good experience, something positive came out of it?”

She notes now is also the time to focus on diet and eating healthy.

“A lot of clients are talking about ‘I’m putting on weight,’ or ‘the pounds are adding up…’ And that’s when the encouragement would be, this is not the time to just eat randomly or snack randomly. Be sensible with your eating. Have balanced meals.”

Anderson said she’s also seeing a rise in people turning to alcohol as a way of coping and drinking more than normal.

“That’s a real concern of mine, it’s almost like a numbing out. All of this stuff is happening around me and now I just need to self-soothe with alcohol or taking more medication than what I am prescribed to take,” Anderson said. “This is not the time to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs to numb out. This is the time to focus more on family, to focus more on friends, to do projects that you put off for a while.”

She said it’s important to have a support system and to know who it is that you can reach out to in a time of struggle. Some are turning to social media as an outlet. Anderson notes there are lots of applications available to help people relieve their stresses.

“Noom is a really cool app to help with nutrition and diet. There’s so many of them out there too that can really help even with mindfulness apps,” Anderson said. “There are apps that are designed to help you with mediation, even learning the technique of meditation. Learning how to sit still, learning how to breathe, all those things are so important. I would say even there’s stuff online to help you too.”

But Anderson said it’s crucial that we remind ourselves that what we’re dealing with right now is just a point in time in our lives that will eventually come to an end.

“It’s important to build on our stress right now,” said Anderson. “And to know that we’re all in this together and we’re going to get out of this fine.”

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