Hannah Comeaux is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

We are living in a time of uncertainty and because of that, we are seeing a rise in anxiety and depression. For a lot of us, this whole experience is very new, and we are all having a hard time navigating this new normal. Hannah joined us on Acadiana's Morning News and you can listen to the full segment below.

Hannah Comeaux: What we are seeing is that the isolation and social distancing is causing a lot of depression. The fear and uncertainty may cause a sense of anxiety. A lot of people are afraid for their health, they’re scared that their loved ones may become ill, and they're concerned they will lose their jobs and security.

This is causing people to become very anxious. What happens when most people are fearful is that they panic and they feel stuck, unable to move forward. Often, anxiety and fear will lead us to thinking of the worst-case scenario.

Here are some tips for dealing with anxiety and depression:

  • Identify what emotions you are feeling. Are you feeling anxious or depressed? What do you think is making you feel anxious? Is it the fear of getting sick or losing your job? Then, I encourage you to challenge your thoughts with the truth. Identify if this is a feeling or a fact. Our feelings are very real and it’s important to validate those emotions, but we also don’t want them to run the show.
  • Identity what coping skills work best for you when you are feeling overwhelmed. Do deep breathing exercises help? Anything you can do to focus your attention away from your anxious thoughts and to focus on taking 10 deep breathes in and out. What about grounding techniques or guided imagery? For example, closing your eyes and imagining a peaceful place that you feel safe. What’s around you? Where is your safe place? Another idea is moving your body, going for a walk, and exercising throughout.
  • Recognize what’s in your control. What can you do to make the most of this situation? I recommend sticking with a routine. I know it may be difficult because you may be working from home, your kids are also home and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. I believe in creating a schedule for you and your kids. This helps to bring a sense of order and control during a very chaotic time.
  • Remember that negativity and fear is contagious just like hope and encouragement. We want to be careful not to spend all day consumed with what’s going on with COVID-19. Yet, we absolutely want to be informed on what’s going on, but we don’t want to let it consume our life. We want to be careful on how much negativity we surround ourselves with. The best way to counteract negativity and worry is with gratitude. What do you have to be thankful for today? Are your kids doing well? Do you still have your job? Gratitude really helps to shift our perspective.
  • Lastly, I want to remind everyone that if you are struggling with depression and anxiety during this time, help is available. There are licensed therapists like me that can provide you with support and the tools to get through this. Many therapists are offering telehealth services, which is online counseling that you can receive from the comfort of your home. I also provide telehealth services and I use a very secure and HIPPA compliant platform.