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There are ways to deal with stress, anxiety during uncertain times

by Dr. Colleen Scholar, Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics

Times are strange right now, we were so focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, but now, with protests and riots, things have become even more stressful.

Providers at Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics are seeing increasing anxiety and worsening depression in many, this is common and not unusual during these uncertain times.

We often find that there is fear and worry about your own health or that of a loved one. You may notice a change in sleep patterns, a change in eating patterns, difficulty concentrating, worsening of chronic health problems, and sometimes even an increase in the use of alcohol or tobacco. We know that everyone responds to stress differently so being aware of yourself, your friends and your loved ones' well-being during these times can help to identify the anxiety or depression and intervene.

During times of stress you and your family can take some actions to reduce these feelings:

  • Be sure you are taking breaks from watching, reading or talking about the current events.
  • Be sure you are taking care of your body. Eating a healthy diet is important. Exercising whether it is walking, hiking, lifting weights or practicing yoga can be helpful; there is great evidence that exercise improves our mental health.
  • Meditation can be very helpful and doesn't have to take a lot of time; there are many articles and books to help anyone learn to meditate.
  • It is important during stressful times to avoid dependence on substances. Alcohol will only make depression worse. I see many people turn to marijuana for insomnia but it tends to backfire and increases their anxiety. Increasing your tobacco use will lead to long term health consequences.

As isolation recommendations are reduced, we encourage people to social distance but it may be a bit easier to visit and talk with friends and family across the yard than it had been on the phone or computer.

If you need help please reach out to a loved one and/or your medical provider. Please know that you are not alone and we are available to help.

Photo: Dr. Colleen Sholar

Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
Phone: (208) 476-0733
Fax: (208) 476-4140