Maintaining mental health during isolation

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- As many people stay at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a local behavioral expert is sharing tips on how to take care of your mental health while at home in isolation.

Toni Simonson of HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s Hospitals Behavioral Health and Prevea Behavioral Care says having structure in your day is very important.

"The most important thing for people to do is keep as much structure as possible in their daily lives,” Simonson said. “Anxiety can really be contagious so keep that in check and keep connected any way they can by phone, facetime, or video with people they would usually be socializing with."

But with businesses closed, many people are currently without a job and that is just one more thing to worry about.

"Any stress reduction techniques that they can grab a hold of can be helpful,” Simonson said. “There are some really amazing apps that are available right now, one of them is Calm. No one is alone, no one should feel that they are in isolation in their feelings of overwhelment and stress and to take each day as it comes and not to overreact to it."

She also had tips on how to get the younger population to take the current situation seriously, and understand that they play a part in helping to flatten the curve.

"Reinforcing the reliable information that we have, making sure they understand the guidelines that are being put in place by the CDC, the World Health Organization, Wis.gov,” she said. “Those are very reliable resources for information."

And with schools closed and many people working from home, families are spending more time together than they usually do.

Simonson says it is again important to remember to have structure in your daily routine to help give parents and kids a break.

"They should have time built in for exercise, time built in for a regular work day or a school day,” she said. “That structure is really the biggest thing for families who all of the sudden the kids are home and the parents are home from work and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight for it."