Managing Our Mental Health in a Difficult Time

The coronavirus crisis has brought on many changes in our lives that can be hard to cope with

NBC Universal, Inc.

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven millions of people into social isolation, brought on severe stress and triggered a range of emotions, leaving many people struggling to cope with the sudden changes in their everyday life.

The impacts are felt throughout the country and were even seen on national television Friday morning.

NBC News' Hoda Kotb choked up and broke down in tears while anchoring "TODAY." At the end of a live interview with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Kotb became visibly upset and had to toss to her co-anchor, Savannah Guthrie.

The pandemic and stay-at-home orders are creating a lot of anxiety for many people, particularly children.

Brees was on the program to discuss his $5 million donation to help feed people in Louisiana, where Kotb worked earlier in her career.

"How is it possible that a person could break down right in the middle of an interview?" said psychotherapist Dr. Karen Ruskin. "It makes all the sense in the world because we are humans, and we are experiencing the emotions of others."

The stress that accompanies a pandemic is often even more difficult for elderly people, especially those who live alone in special care facilities.

"There are some residents that have felt a little isolated," said Karen Pollack, director of community relations at Springhouse Senior Living Community in Boston. "We've had families come and serenade their relatives from outside. So, there were four family members that came, and the mother went outside on her balcony and the family played music."

Ruskin said there are a variety of ways to manage stress and anxiety throughout the pandemic, including self-control.

"Control your controllables. What are you in control of? We're certainly in control of how we think, and if we spend the time worrying about the things that we don't know, what's going to happen in the future, that is going to make us unwell emotionally," she said.

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