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It's all opening so fast: Expert weighs in on how to cope with anxiety amid coronavirus

More places are opening back up after being closed because of the coronavirus, and all of the unknowns around COVID-19 can be scary for some people.

CLEVELAND — 3News’ Hollie Strano has been an outspoken advocate for mental health and wanted to find out more about how to cope with the stress that can come with the current pandemic. She had a very honest conversation with clinical health psychologist, Dr. Lori Stevic-Rust.

“I know you're well aware of my feelings on mental health," Strano said. "It's something that I deal with, it's something that I've been very transparent about myself and the pandemic does not make it easy. Even for somebody that is let's just say low stress, low anxiety, this is still really, really tough. So I want to start with that: Coping.”

Dr. Lori explained that while many people didn’t like being told they should stay home during Ohio's order, it was easier for people to manage mentally.

“It wasn't like, ‘Should I go to that restaurant or not?’ It was they are not open. ‘Should I go to work?’ Well, there isn't work right now. ‘Can I get my hair cut?’ You can't, because everything is closed,” Dr. Lori said. “When we were told what to do when we were in a state of lockdown, if you will, in some ways it was a little bit easier.”

She also explained that when people are deciding whether or not they should do certain activities or go to businesses that are opening up, they need to weigh the risks and benefits.

“The more time we spend around other people in close proximity, the risk goes up. So thinking about if you're outdoors and you’re spread apart and there's very few people, your risk goes down. You start looking at, I'm going to be in a salon for four hours versus 40 minutes. The more time we spend consistently in the same air, the same space, our risk is going to go up.”

Dr. Lori said it’s also to important to consider the people you choose to be in contact with.

“If you're in contact with people who are saying, ‘This is nonsense, and I'm living my life, and I'm doing whatever I want,’ being around those people also raises your risk. Because they may be asymptomatic, and are the carriers. Then every place you go from there on, you are potentially lugging behind you the virus.”

Dr. Lori explained that we’ll be learning how to live with the virus for quite some time, so weighing the risks and benefits is important.

“I think we have to think about it in those terms. Like, ‘What's the highest risk, what's the lowest risk and what can I do to mitigate my risk?’”

For more advice from Dr. Lori, you can check out her site here.

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