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    How to deal with COVID-19 anxiety

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    Antje Rath

    How does one deal with rising levels of anxiety in times like these?

    It depends on what kind of anxiety one is experiencing.

    “There’s no short answer to this question,” said Antje Rath, a clinical mental health counselor at Moab Regional Hospital. “Is it financial anxiety? Is it over loved ones getting sick? Is it about worrying your child won’t pass seventh grade?”

    She said one of the smartest steps people can take is to have a routine. “You need some kind of structure for you and your kids.” Activities as simple as having breakfast at the same time every day, getting up and going to bed at the same time, and exercising.

    She also said parents who suddenly find themselves home-schooling shouldn’t worry too much if they don’t feel up to the task. “People are going stir crazy at home. The people who are home-schooling right now: Don’t put so much pressure on yourselves. All the math and other work doesn’t have to be done right now. Focus on healthy activities, not just work.”

    She also said there are a number of resources available for parents, such as tutors and other help. “Don’t hesitate to ask for help.”

    Rath also said there are a number of resources available for those experiencing financial worries — which is almost everybody in the world these days — and she noted utility companies won’t turn off the lights or the gas. Food and clothing sources are available. She noted Realtor Dave Bierschied has collected a number of items.

    In practice in Moab for the past 9 years, Rath said the conversations she’s having with clients range from concerns over elderly loved ones possibly getting sick, losing jobs, to their children’s interrupted education. She also said some of her clients have withdrawn, something that might not be healthy. She encourages people to “be creative” in how they continue to communicate with others.

    She said it is critical to be honest with themselves and “figure out what you can control and what you can’t control.” You can control your own environment and you can do things to get involved. She cited the growing number of people who are sewing masks and gowns for Moab Regional Hospital.

    “Practice gratitude. Life is difficult and scary right now, but there is lots to be grateful for,” she said. “Make yourself useful to others.” Rath also recommends practicing yoga and meditating — there are a number of guided meditations and yoga classes online — and she also suggests folks remember to be kind to others. “We’re all in this together.”

    Rath can best be contacted by email at antjer@mrhmoab.org. She can also be reached by phone at 435-719-5500, option 2. Social worker Pam Marsing can be helpful to people in crisis and knows where resources can be found, said Rath. Marsing is reachable at 435-719-5531.

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