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By Amanda Felice, MS, LMHC, Director of Behavioral Health, Finger Lakes Community Health, our services are offered at eight health centers in the region.

It’s hard to miss the upsetting news about how the Coronavirus is changing our world. We have been forced to alter our routines and schedules due to school closings, working from home, unemployment, and isolation from family and friends. All of this makes staying mentally well a challenge.
It’s more important than ever to maintain good mental health during a time like this. How we respond to these challenges is what matters and keeping up with your mental health is vital to staying positive during this trying time.

Here are a few tips to help keep you in a positive state of mind:

• Stay grounded and focus only on the things you have control over. This is important. Don’t consume yourself with things that will happen whether you want them to or not. Focus on things that you mentally and physically can control.

  • Be sure that you’re following credible sources for COVID-19 information such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and your medical provider. There is a lot of misinformation out there.
  • Be mindful of the amount of time you are spending with the news and social media. Find a time and place to watch the News instead of checking in throughout the day. You don’t have to stop paying attention to it but if it’s causing your anxiety to rise, then it’s time to alter your habits. Typically, overexposure equals higher anxiety.
  • Struggling with your ever-changing identity. What was your norm a few weeks ago is now changing, right? You may not be working, the kids might be home from school and not playing sports, these things helped form your sense of identity and happiness (that’s why you continued to do them). Now it’s all about developing a new routine and finding a schedule that allows you to find peace and pleasure. Try to find the positive in all of this like having the time to do activities with family and friends that you may have put off for a while. Of course, this must follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Coping with abrupt changes with no closure. Many things stopped suddenly without any closure. Kids are going without their Senior year and sports. It’s very similar to the stages of grief — denial, anger, depression, acceptance. One way to combat this feeling is to continue to be social. Remember technology is your friend so start using FaceTime, Zoom, Social Apps and Texting to say in close contact with people. Or simply give them a call! Staying connected allows adults and especially kids to continue with the social part of their lives and group talk amongst peers.
  • Go outside! Go for a walk, get fresh air and get some exercise. Try something different. Go online and find a free exercise program. Download meditation or Yoga apps — many are free.

    Minimize your stress
    Our goal is to minimize the stress COVID-19 might cause you during this time. Our therapists and support staff will work with your primary care provider and behavioral health clinician to get the complete picture and the services you need.
    We make it convenient for you!
    At Finger Lakes Community Health, we offer mental health services in a variety of ways. You can stay at home, in a quiet room, and have your appointment by phone or using the Internet with your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Or you may come for an in-person appointment at the health center with your therapist, or psychiatrist. Whatever you are comfortable with!
    It may be time to start a relationship with a mental health clinician or pick up where you left off. We can focus your sessions around coping with stress, change in schedules, kids being home from school, and teach you skills and techniques to help with anxiety and depression symptoms. Take the first step and call a mental health provider to help! We can be reached at 315-781-8448.