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What a psychiatrist recommends during COVID-19 to stay calm

Posted at 2:47 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 16:47:53-04

KALISPELL — MTN spoke with Todd Rutherford who is a child psychiatrist at Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

He says the best thing to do in times like this is to maintain normalcy.

"Keeping a regular routine will be helpful. Getting up at the same time every day, go to bed at the same time each night if your work allows that, or if your personal life allows that," said Rutherford. "Try and keep as much of that routine schedule as you can with all the chaos going on."

This is one of many suggestions child psychiatrist Todd Rutherford suggests during this difficult time as coronavirus continues to spread.

He explained to MTN that lots of people are experiencing anxiety surrounding this and that this comes from the unknown about this virus.

"Here we are in a situation where it's uncharted territory and there are a lot of things we can't control right now," explained Rutherford. "There's uncertainty about our safety. Which, anxiety is a natural response to feeling unsafe."

Rutherford told MTN that anxiety to a degree is normal in situations like this.

However, it becomes an issue when anxiety prevents a person from performing normal activities, like sleeping or eating.

And he suggested to MTN ways you can explain carefully explain coronavirus to your young children. He says personalizing it is the best way.

"Maybe you can explain what a virus is. Some of the basic facts, we can get sick and that's how we get the flu," said Rutherford. "This is a little like the flu but a little more severe. So, we're taking every precaution we have. That's why we're out of school and maybe that's why we don't go visit Grandma and Grandpa right now."

Rutherford also advocates for unwinding and unplugging.

He says, take advantage of Montana's outdoors and talk about things other than the virus.