Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Jacksonville-St. Augustine

How to Cope with Mental Health Issues Before and After the Pandemic

Jun 09, 2020 09:19PM ● By Melissa Fenton
Jacksonville psychotherapist Melissa Fenton, founder of Mind, Body and Beyond Center, says the psychological effects of the coronavirus have dominated her therapy sessions. “In these uncertain and unprecedented times, most of us are in a state of anxiety, fear or stress,” says Fenton. “We know that stress and ongoing anxiety are risk factors for PTSD and depression.” Here, she offers her tips for reducing anxiety and coping during intense times of stress. 

Control what you can. The only thing we have complete control over, says Fenton, is ourselves—our thoughts, our health and our choices. She advises using the extra time at home to eat healthy, get an adequate amount of sleep and exercise regularly. “Regular moderate exercise increases our ‘feel good’ hormones and reduces our stress response.” 

Keep a regular routine. Maintaining a routine is difficult, particularly for those now working remotely or who experienced a job loss due to the pandemic. Establishing a new routine can help alleviate stress and increase a sense of well-being.  

        Limit news and social media exposure. It’s important to keep up-to-date on current events, but too much can be harmful. Find ways to stay informed, educated and connected, but limit exposure to once or twice daily. 

        Spend time in nature. Being surrounded by trees and water is good for the immune system and overall health. 

Practice meditation. Relaxing the body, mind and spirit is the best way to manage stress in uncertain times. Meditation offers therapeutic benefits for stress reduction, PTSD, trauma and more. 

 Melissa Fenton, Ph.D., LMHC, is the founder and president of Mind, Body and Beyond Center in Jacksonville. She leads a team of holistic health practitioners who offer an array of healing modalities that positively impact body, mind and spirit. For more information, call or visit