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Here's how to take care of your mental health during isolation, according to a mental health expert

Mental health experts want people to take this time to take care of themselves the right way.
Posted: 12:03 AM, Mar 19, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-19 00:05:15-04
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RICHMOND, Va. -- With millions being recommended to quarantine inside their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health experts want people to take this time to take care of themselves the right way.

Michael Southam-Gerow is a psychology professor at VCU and is following the new recommendations for people around the country by staying inside.

“This is a really unprecedented situation," Southam-Gerow said. “Most of our folks started teleworking at the beginning of the week, and then I think we've all transitioned to it by today.”

He believes the isolation will take a toll on many people.

"In this situation, it is a normal reaction to be really stressed out and anxious," Southam-Gerow said. "We like to be able to predict what’s going to happen and to be able to control it and we can cope with our stress that way.”

Michael said there are ways to take care of yourself in these uncertain times.

First use your technology to stay connected with other people.

"What we’re doing right now, this face-timing," Southam-Gerow said. "If you can do that with your friends, if you can do that with your family members, even for a few minutes a day can be really really helpful.”

He also suggests giving more love, compassion and patience to everyone around you.

"With your neighbors, with the people that you’re interacting with at the grocery while we all figure out what to buy," Southam-Gerow said.

He also emphasized the importance of taking time to relax.

“We can still go out for walks, take our dogs out. Go out on the back yard and run around if you have one," Southam-Gerow said.

If you struggle with mental health issues or anxiety Southam-Gerow suggested talking to professionals over the phone or online.

"My wife is a mental health professional and she’s doing tele-health in our house right now," Southem-Gerow said. "She’s got herself in a room and she’s talking to people all day. Many people are doing it."

He also recommends that parents take the time to talk to their children about why social distancing is important, and to have a daily routine for them.