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How to cope with stress during the COVID-19 pandemic

ORLANDO, Fla. – In a given year, 18% of the U.S. population will struggle with anxiety and 7% will have at least one major depressive episode. With the current COVID pandemic, those numbers may skyrocket.

In times of tremendous stress, how do experts say you can avoid falling into an unhealthy rut?

A.J. Marsden, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Beacon College, says, “Having a routine and having a schedule in place is really important.”

Take a shower each morning, get out of your sleepwear and dressed even if you aren’t leaving the house. And when negative thoughts come your way…

“Take a minute in your day, reflect on that thought that you just had, and then ask yourself, how can I turn this into something that’s positive and find a way to spin it positively?” continued Dr. Marsden.

If someone in your household is struggling with anxiety, and you see them spacing out or distancing themselves from the rest of the group, it’s important to break that unhealthy cycle.

“They really need a little hand getting pulled out. They’re not going to naturally come out, um, a lot of times. So just the interrupting that train of thought,” shared Nicki Nance, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Human Services, Beacon College.

As for friends and family who don’t live with you?

“Reaching out to them is fine. The phone still works, skype still work,” stated Dr. Nance.

A new app called “Quarantine Chat” has also been created amidst the chaos. You can connect and talk with strangers when you’re feeling alone or bored.

If you need to speak with a professional, many insurance plans are currently accepting teletherapy as a viable option for therapy due to the COVID pandemic. Check with your insurance provider for more information.

Contributors to this news report include: Gabriella Battistiol, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.