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Managing Anxiety in the Covid-19 Crisis

"It's certainly an unprecedented time," said Keating, who has a practice here in Kelowna. "I think most of us will be feeling a healthy level of anxiety right now and that's understandable."

But for some people, it can become a serious problem. "If you have a pre-existing mental health condition, so you've dealt with anxiety before or a mood disorder or something like that," she noted. So the question is, at what point does that anxiety level become unhealthy.

"When it starts to boil over, if we see perhaps panic, so those physiological symptoms of anxiety," said Keating. "We see sleep disturbance, we see irritability or we see a decrease in mood and those sorts of things." To keep up our personal mental health, she recommends maintaining personal connections. "I know we're advocating for social distance now, but you can still be socially connected to your family and friends."

Also at the top of Dr. Keating's prescription list is physical activity. "Exercise is one of the best managers we have for anxiety, depression, and stress," she said.

City Councillor Loyal Wooldridge said even community leaders have to ask themselves the same questions. "There can be a state of panic and anxiety," he said. "But we have to remain calm and use that towards planning." Wooldridge said the best way to put that energy to good use is to find a way to help others. "That can be a great way to calm that anxiety and also give back," he said.

Both Keating and Wooldridge agree that the overconsumption of media can be a problem. "Going to a reliable source and making sure you're informed, I think that's very healthy," said Keating. "But what I'm seeing in my practice is people are being bombarded and sucked into that. And that actually creates more anxiety."

Trying to set routines, even among all of these changes is also a recommendation.

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