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Rochester counselor shares tips to maintain mental health

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- It's been seven months since Minnesota first began to shut down to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

As the state approaches winter, health professionals are concerned a surge of sessional depression may arise.

Courtesy: Brandy Allen

Brandy Allen, a clinical counselor for the Bluestem Center for Child and Family Development, listed five tips she believes anyone can do to maintain mental health.

Tip #1: Maintain A Consistent Schedule
"Even if there is E-learning or doing Hybrid that the child or adolescent is getting up at the same time every day. And it's the same kind of breakfast and school, then lunch and school. But really, keeping that consistency and that predictability."

Tip #2: Staying Socially Connected
"Covid or non-Covid my rule is that when I meet families is I always say let's look at three different social connections that you have, if it's a safe community, of its school, if it's a support group," Allen said.

She also said daily interaction is important.

"Reach out to somebody every single day. I don't care if it's in a video game, if it's text messaging if it's an email. I've been really promoting volunteering. We still need volunteers in our community and that is one way you can get out. " Allen said.

Tip #3: Physical Activity/ Healthy Eating
She said a walk or bike ride for at least 15 mins each day makes a difference, as well as fueling your body with nutritious food.

Tip #4: Limit Screen Time
Allen said being in front of a screen for hours can be bad for your brain. "Our time management or any of that functional processing is really limited when we are on the screen. We hear and see about a lot of escalated behavior a lot of anger with increased screen time. So, really limiting screen time and taking breaks every half hour."

Tip #5: Get At Least 7 Hours of Sleep
"Turning off your screen. And if it's journaling or deep breathing or listening to calming music, reading whatever it may be to calm your brain to prepare for sleep," Allen said.

Allen also said someone should seek professional help if they have symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Those symptoms include self- isolation, worrying a lot, and decreased sleep.

KaMaria Braye

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