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By Lisa Caplan, LCSW-C

It’s very normal to feel nervous and concerned about the Coronavirus. These are times of uncharted waters. Never in history has the reaction to a pandemic been this extensive. Understandably you may feel on edge. Here are tips that might help you feel more in control and help you manage your life during this situation:

  • Stay calm and find accurate information. It’s hard to navigate all the information and know what is accurate. The Center for Disease Control has up to date information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html
  • Avoid information overload. The news is going over and over the same information. Have a plan on how many times you will check in with the news during the day to get accurate updated information.
  • Make decisions with intent. Think about why you are doing what you are doing. This will help you feel more empowered to handle this situation.
    Talk to your family and friends to get support. In the world of technology there are many ways to stay connected, e.g., skype, facetime, texting, email.
  • Avoid people who are fueling your anxiety. Those who are not being productive in managing their life and focusing on the negative can cause heightened anxiety. Have a support group that is proactive in handling anxiety and navigating this emergency in a healthy way.
  • Have a family meeting to discuss the situation. Involving even small children will help lower their anxiety. Hearing you discuss the situation calmly in a productive way will help them be less anxious.
  • Have a strategy to manage stress and anxiety, for example:
    • Practice mindfulness. There are many Apps that are available.
    • Get moving. Instead of going to the gym go outside to take a walk, run or hike. Research shows that exercise helps with anxiety. You can practice social distancing and still go for a walk with a friend. There are also many online exercise program that can be helpful: https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-work-out-at-home-in-case-coronavirus-quarantine-2020-3
    • Eat healthy. Avoid sugar and caffeine, which can add to your anxiety.
    • Stick to a daily schedule as much as you can. Only change your schedule when necessary, with intent and not as a reaction.
    • Take precautions that are recommended but be careful not to obsess over them or try to be perfect. This can lead to unhealthy behavior.
    • Don’t use alcohol, drugs or other unhealthy behaviors to manage your anxiety. This may cause lasting effects on your life and increase your anxiety.
    • Breathe. As long as you are alive you can breathe, and it is a powerful way to stay grounded. Often we don’t even realize we are holding our breath. Intentionally stop what you are doing and just breathe.
    • Call the Lawyer Assistance Program for professional help and support. Sessions are being offered over the phone.

For more tips on wellness check out the Wellness Portal https://www.msba.org/wellness-portal/.

For assistance, please contact the Lawyer Assistance Program for free, confidential counseling. We have a network of counselors throughout Maryland. Lisa Caplan, LCSW-C, Associate Director, (443) 703-3042, lisa@msba.org.Toll Free 1(888) 388-5459. We offer financial assistance for mental health and substance abuse treatment. Please feel free to reach out to our LAP Committee Members and Volunteers https://www.msba.org/health-and-wellness/

Lisa Caplan, LCSW-C has over 20 years experience in her field, and extensive experience working with lawyers and judges in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and trauma. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, paddle boarding, sailing, rock climbing and doing triathlons.