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Holidays and COVID create recognizable mental health issue

Posted at 12:43 AM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 02:43:57-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — Dr. Diane Ryan said some people are experiencing mental health issues ahead of the holidays.

She said even if patients say it's not, it still might be because the pandemic

"They may not really identify the virus as a causative factor but I think it's certainly creating an atmosphere of uncertainty."

Dr. Ryan, from Ravenhawk Recovery, said anxiety can stem from rising cases coupled with common issues around the holidays.

"They're just kind of trying to go with the flow, trying to plan as best they can but I would say that's certainly one of the more stressful elements."

Dr. Ryan said it isn't all despondent though, in some cases, the pandemic has been a positive element, one example: teens, learning from home.

"(They) have managed to really get a handle on their academic progress and they're doing extraordinarily well," Ryan said.

"The social elements that they had to deal with before when they were going to school live, they don't have to deal with that anymore."

Eventually she recommends those teens will need more social exposure for their own development.

Ryan said there's a couple of things you can do to cope and regain control when it feels lost.

The first: slow down.

"Taking things, a day at a time is your best strategy."

"Focusing on what your most fundamental needs are. How do you take care of yourself? How do feed yourself? How do you get adequate sleep?"

Second, she said is an exercise in grounding yourself.

"What are five things that you're feeling? What can you see? What can you smell? It seems very simplistic but it's really, really effective in terms of landing you in the here and now."