Controlling what you can, Expert weighs in amid coronavirus crisis

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COLORADO SPRINGS — The coronavirus pandemic has interrupted work and school for so many; disruptions that could add layers of stress and anxiety to our lives.

“These are really uncertain times and we as humans struggle with that imbalance that’s in our normal daily lives. We become fearful, we become anxious,” said Dr. Kathy Friel.

Dr. Friel, a trauma expert with a doctorate in psychology, and executive director of Dragonfly Retreats and Veteran Support, says a lack of control in your life can take its toll and the effects can be long-term.

“Similar effects to like when 911 happened and everybody was just watching that on the news all the time, and we were getting that secondary trauma. So, we’re hearing about all these deaths in all of these other countries. You can really throw your sleep patterns off, you can you know, potentially long-term maybe end up with PTSD from it,” Friel said.

She says we can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety by taking a breath and taking your time.

“Just because you’re working from or you’re home now or you’re not used to it, still give yourself a schedule of things. Still go to bed at the same, get up at the same time,”

Friel suggests sticking to a routine as much as possible, meaning, if you do laundry on Sunday, keep doing it on Sundays.

If you now work from home, keep your same hours, including lunch.

And remember the things you do have control of: what you watch on tv, what you eat, and who you talk to.

But she thinks the biggest challenge will be the thing that’s always in front of you.

“Trying to stop social media. Trying to back off on how many hours a day they’re actually on Facebook and hearing 96 different stories of the same thing. Limit its time a little bitty portion of time because there’s just so much stuff out there, it’s overwhelming. And that I think is where a lot of people are feeling that anxiety is because ‘what do I know is real, what do I know is fake,'” Friel said.

As for the kids, give them something to plan, something to look forward to the next day.

“You know, we’ve got nothing but time right now, so take your time doing everything,” Friel said.

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