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Maintaining balance while social distancing: How to keep your mental and physical health in check

Posted at 8:47 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 12:40:34-04

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan — As the number of coronavirus cases surges across the area, so has anxiety.

Emotions run the gamut as many of us navigate unfamiliar territory.

The uncertainty bundled with social distancing — and what has probably boiled to cabin fever, in most cases — may be taxing, but mental health professionals say it’s more important than ever to maintain structure.

“We’ve never dealt with anything like this before,” explained psychotherapist Dr. Katherine Smerling.

Smerling, who is continuing to meet with clients, where they practice social distancing with strolls on the Upper East Side, said maintaining a routine will lessen the mental blow.

“It gives us some kind of organization so you don’t feel as though like you have been just let out to sea and you don’t have an anchor,” she said.

Set a schedule. Stay connected with loved ones. Even start a new hobby.

They’re all tips that will allow you to control the narrative of your day.

Virtual therapy pop-up sessions, like one led by licensed therapist Rachel Wright this week, are one of many resources easing the isolation.

Keeping tabs on your physical wellness is just as important.

“Physical fitness is a big stress reliever,” personal trainer Heather Gunn Rivera, who launched Grassroots Fitness Project, an at-home training program, told PIX11.

“With all the news, all our social media, all our screen time — we have to counter that, there has to be some balance.”

With gyms shuttered across the tri-state area, many personal trainers are taking their services digital.

Some are even offering free workouts on YouTube and Instagram.

Experts also say if you incorporate others in those at-home activities, it may alleviate a significant amount of stress in the household.

“It might be really fun to do some family sessions and have everybody together,” Gunn-Rivera said.