Curfews in effect for Puget Sound cities; Inslee activates National Guard

Experts urge you to take care of your mental health amid COVID-19 outbreak

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SEATTLE -- Whether you're someone who already struggled with anxiety or not, the past couple weeks have been incredibly stressful. While we continue to focus so much on our physical health, experts urge us not to forget about our mental health.

"Take this time as a time for rest, if you can, and that’s going to look really different for a wide array of people," says Seattle psychotherapist Kristene Kaim.

Kaim specializes in anxiety, something she's seeing a lot of lately. As we all continue to try to navigate through this new reality, she says changing your perspective can really help.

"This is such an opportunity for everyone as the world is on a break right now to be able to get your creativity juices flowing."

As many of our schedules drastically change, with long periods of time inside our homes, she encourages people to not fall into bad habits; eventually, it'll only make things worse.

"This will end, and you don’t want to come out of it with an extra burden of having to kick some kind of habit."

Kaim has patients write down the reasons for their anxiety, which she says helps people realize what's worth worrying about, and what isn't. And a little bit of self-care, a warm bath or long walk, goes a long way. She's also encouraging patients who are used to attending a yoga class to still find a way to practice.

And for that, Bala Yoga Studios has a solution: free classes that are live-streamed.

"This is a huge opportunity to reconnect to ourselves, and that's what yoga is all about," says Bala yoga instructor and health coach Andrew Ragan.

Ragan says even if you don't practice yoga or meditation, there's something simple anyone can do to help keep stress levels down.

"One of the easy things we can do is take a time out, doesn’t matter if it's in the afternoon or evening-and begin to breathe through your nose."

Ragan says it's important to find a balance of dealing with the inevitable stressers of COVID-19, while also not allowing it to dominate our minds completely.  "There’s a little bit of anxiousness collectively as a culture so how can we ground ourselves with some time to sit like allow the feels to happen and also like, let them pass through, not over identify with them."

Kristene Kaim agrees it is crucial to take a moment for yourself each day, and to remember, this is all temporary.

"Humans are incredibly resilient, and not only will this pass, but we will get through it...we’re really all in this together."

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