LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted life in unprecedented ways, but there are still ways to cope while maintaining social distance.

Dr. Craig Sawchuk, a psychologist with the Mayo Clinic, says there are really just three things to keep in mind to cop with businesses and restaurants across the country closed under stay-at-home orders.

“There’s a tremendous amount of uncertainty right now and I think that’s where we want to make sure we are compassionate and empathetic with what’s going on with folks,” Dr. Sawchuk said.

First, maintain normal daily routines — get up at a routine time, shower, get dressed and go to bed at the same time. Dr. Sawchuk says people should also keep up a nutritious diet, rather than falling back on snacking endlessly at home.

Second, fill the mental and emotional tank: exercise, do relaxation exercises, focus on projects and find ways to be productive. The brain also likes novelty, so consider learning new things while at home, Dr. Sawchuk said.

Third, while the emphasis is on social distancing, people should stay socially connected. Use video visits, the phone and texting to stay in touch with family and friends. At the same time, people should limit the amount of media they are consuming.

“Keep in mind we actually don’t know how this is going to turn out in the end or how long this is going to take, but do know that there are a lot of people working on this right now and try to get this to a better place,” he said.

“It may take some time and uncertainty, but maintain some of that faith and optimism as well, too,” Dr. Sawchuk said.

Stress, irritability, sleep disruptions are all normal reactions to these turbulent times, he said. But when those feelings begin to interfere with day-to-day activities and a person’s ability to problem solve, that may be the time to seek medical help, Dr. Sawchuk said.

In those instances, people should reach out to their doctors via email or phone. People can also seek help through the Anxiety Depression Association of America at adaa.org.

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