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Take inventory of your mental health as we cope with COVID-19 information overload

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SEATTLE - One local doctor says it's important to take the time to get an inventory of your mental health as we react to COVID-19.

It’s understandable that many of us are struggling to find the balance between fear and vigilance.

So as researchers and health experts work around the clock to fully understand COVID-19, experts say the rest of us should focus on what we do know about the virus instead of what we don’t know.

On Wednesday the traffic in downtown Seattle or the lack thereof is one measure of the anxiety many of us are feeling over coronavirus.

“Starting tomorrow I am going to stay home, probably every day from now on,” Frank Chau said.

Chau is in the tech industry and he is able to do his job from home.

Many companies are either allowing employees to work from home or mandating it.

The virus is forcing people to change the way they live, from canceled trips and events to empty grocery shelves.

“A lot of handwashing and maybe don’t go to that one music show,” Ben Frost said.

Doctors say how we are feeling makes total sense.

“People don’t like the unknown, when people feel like they don’t know something, they feel like they've lost agency and power to control their destiny and it's a scary thing,” Dr. Vin Gupta with UW Medicine said.

Dr. Gupta says for most of us, a frantic mental response can be more harmful than the actual physical effects of the virus.

“What I think is not helpful is misinformation online, ramping up anxiety levels without the focus of what we know and what we don’t know,” Dr. Gupta said.

Dr. Gupta says stay informed, but don’t try to overthink it.

“Listen, use common sense, practice good judgment, personal hygiene; let us not overreact to it. What I am trying to push back and say is live your life,” Dr. Gupta said.

Dr. Gupta says if you feel like you are getting bombarded with information take a step back and decompress the best way you know how.

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