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Bay Area doctors discuss impacts of social distancing on mental health

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — People have been social distancing and staying at home for nearly two weeks now.

For some, it can feel lonely and stressful, which is why many are now turning to virtual hang outs with friends and family.

KRON4 spoke to doctors on Thursday about the impacts of social distancing on mental health and how people should stay connected.

With orders to stay at home across the Bay Area, many are feeling anxious and some are getting cabin fever.

“A lot of anxiety. Most of the anxiety I’m seeing is more about just uncertainty, about what to expect in the future, how secure our jobs are, what relationships will look like, just kind of an unknown in the future,” Dr. Sarah Kwan said.

Dr. Kwan said it’s perfectly normal to feel this way.

To fight anxiety, stress and loneliness, she said people are finding creative ways to connect.

“I think of it more as physical distancing from what I’ve seen and what my clients have shared, they’re really making actually big efforts to remain social with their community sometimes even more than they normally do,” she said.

From virtual hang outs, to pub trivia nights, even birthday celebrations — families and friends are finding ways to be together… separately.

“I see a lot of people joining in on live Instagram workout sessions so you can actually see how many people are there,” Kwan said. “People are getting creative with apps like HouseParty, Netflix party.”

In addition to checking in on each other, Dr. Stacy Torres at UCSF says making new routines are also important.

“Finding a good routine, whatever that means to you is also important and so some people may be struggling more to come up with a set out routines to structure their day and find sense of control in a sense of sort of positive efficacy,” she said.

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