mentally-coping-with-shelter-at-home-order

More and more people are violating the shelter-at-home orders, even as Governor Gavin Newsom reassured the beginning of the end is now within sight. An end that cannot come soon enough for people dealing with stress and anxiety.

“I assure you the lifting of the shelter-at-home order is weeks, not months away,” said Newsom.

Not soon enough for those who packed Schoonmaker beach in Sausalito and Newport Beach in SoCal last weekend, or for those who went to San Francisco’s Marina District Tuesday evening.

“It sucks that we’re all locked down and we can’t go anywhere or do anything right now,” said San Francisco resident Cyrus.

Bay Area outdoors can be especially alluring and a welcome change for those cooped up for weeks now, a place to unwind.

“Being at home every day is stressing me out, it’s kind of a bummer,” said San Francisco resident Sam Sestanovich. “It’s like you miss everything that you got to do.”

Psychologist at the San Francisco Stress and Anxiety Center, Dr. Jonathan Horowitz says the mysterious coronavirus, and the resulting economic uncertainty, can be incredibly stressful for anyone, but especially difficult for those with mental health and substance abuse issues. 

“I can say that I’m not really surprised,” said Horowitz. “We’re usually asking them how much engagement do they have with other people? How much do they get outside and exercise? And we’re generally trying to encourage those behaviors because they are protective in terms of mental health. Nowadays we really can’t do that.”

Dr. Horowitz says he’s also seeing an uptick in shelter-at-home stress because of crowding at home.

“Here in the Bay Area, there are people who have many roommates sometimes and they’re in a situation where it’s not really a comfortable situation to begin with, and now they’re there all the time,” he said.

Dr. Horowitz suggests that as we stay informed, be mindful of how much COVID-19 news we take in and perhaps limit ourselves to a reasonable amount of time everyday.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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