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Preparing your mental health for an inevitable 'COVID endemic' | Wear The Gown

There is a high likelihood that COVID is here to stay.

SAN ANTONIO — The pandemic has lasted a lot longer than most of us thought it would. There are ways we can reduce our anxiety as it becomes increasingly likely that the pandemic will become an "endemic."

An endemic is most commonly used to describe a disease that is regularly prevalent in a particular location, region or population. In this case, the location and population is the entire world. And much like the flu, it is looking increasingly likely that COVID is here to stay. That means focusing on your mental health becomes increasingly important.

Psychiatrist Dr. Harry Croft told said, "It's important that people take care of themselves. They take care by eating right, sleeping as well as they can, not using drugs or alcohol to cope and so forth."  

Some of the effects of prolonged stress include: trouble sleeping, difficulty eating, having a hard time getting along with others, trouble with your memory and having a hard time focusing. Dr. Croft added, "They may isolate from others, and stop taking care of themselves, and resort to things that worsen the situation." 

That's why reducing your stress through healthy ways is important, such as through deep breathing exercises, meditation, relaxation to music, progressive muscle relaxation, counseling if necessary and practicing mindfulness. Dr. Croft said, "Instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, concentrating on now what's going on."  

Dr. Croft also says to do your best to think positively. He told us, "If you concentrate on all of the negatives that this 'endemic pandemic' has caused, that probably makes matters in the long term worse." 

Dr. Croft also says if you feel extremely depressed, that can sometimes lead to suicidal thoughts. The number for San Antonio's Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.  

For more information about family health call 210-358-3045. You can also find the rest of Wear The Gown stories here.

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