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Feeling stress or anxiety as reopening continues amid COVID-19? Cleveland Clinic doctor offers advice on how to cope

We've fallen into a pandemic routine, and it's stressful to think of how we'll adjust. We have tips for that.

CLEVELAND — For some, the idea of adjusting their schedule and changing plans for their families as things begin to re-open amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Ohio is almost too much to take in. 

We talked with a Cleveland Clinic doctor who suggests thinking about it by considering all the things we did wrong to combat stress when the pandemic began. These include:

  • Overeating 
  • Drinking
  • Not forming a good schedule
  • Not being active
  • Overthinking
  • Fearing the unknown

Then, start thinking pro-actively about ways to counter those habits. Dr. Adam Borland, a clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic, says the most important thing to watch is how we think about that process. Many people with anxiety, or any form of mental distress, tend to look ahead at things that have not happened with a form of catastrophic thinking.

That term is defined as thinking about upcoming events or ideas as irrational, worst-case outcomes. Dr. Borland says the best way to combat this is to focus on the now and the steps you can take to control the situation.

"What I often work with my patients on again, is to focus on that emotional presence," Dr. Borland says. "To focus on what is actually happening in the moment rather than what may happen in the future, or conversely, what has happened in the past."

The best way to avoid that is to give yourself grace. Remember, this is a new season and we're all just doing the best we can. If you're wondering whether you tend to lean toward catastrophic thinking, here are a few more scenarios to give examples. If you need help combatting that thinking, find a therapist near you.

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