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Ask Amy: Pandemic stress is a risk to health

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Your advice? – Sick of it All

Dear Sick: I think you should make a deliberate effort to take more control of your life and do your very best to tiptoe back out into the world – step by step.

Sign up with an online therapist if you can, and try an anti-anxiety meditation app.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy involves techniques designed to rewire your mental and behavioral patterns. Basically, this is a form of exposure therapy where you very gradually, gently, and deliberately expose yourself to the experiences that trigger your anxiety. And anyone can try it.

You can safely meet with people (certainly masked and outside), and you should do your very best to get plenty of fresh air and gentle exercise, preferably with a partner. Take note of your body’s reaction to stress and do your best to deliberately turn off the negative tape playing in your head. Replace it with, “I can do this. I’m safe.”

Celebrate your small victories: “I took a little more time in the store today, and that felt good!”

 

Turn off the constant stream of COVID information and misinformation, and only check CDC.gov and your local health department for updates. Work on expanding your range, very gradually.

Life is full of risks. Some of these risks (driving a car, for instance) also involve risks to others. But you drive a car because you understand that the rewards of driving are far greater than the risks.

Staying trapped by your fears is not good for you. The stress of living in this heightened and frightened state is definitely not good for your health.

Dear Readers: I recently ran a letter from “Got to Go in L.A.,” asking what I believe is a good question regarding toilet etiquette in public non-gender specific bathrooms.

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