Managing your frame of mind and mental health amid ongoing pandemic

Psychologist Dr. David Charny from Main Line Health says the pandemic's many ups and downs may actually help us going forward.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- There's no doubt that recent years have taken a toll on America's mental health, but a local expert says he found a silver lining to help manage your frame of mind amid the ongoing pandemic.

Even as the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve, 2022 seemed old.

Uncertainties about the omicron variant, inflation and supplies of everything made it feel like a repeat of the past two years.

Psychologist David Charny of Main Line Health says it's time to stop the comparison.

Dr. Charny says the pandemic's many ups and downs may help us going forward.

"Maybe we're building a little bit of resilience and better adjustment to change as a result of that," he said.

That may prepare us to deal with the unexpected.

"Being flexible and not being too fixated on plans. As we know, the best-laid plans could be canceled, you know, in the blink of an eye," said Dr. Charny.

Dr. Charny suggests a brief self-checkup to look for worrisome signs, such as low or anxious mood which doesn't feel like yourself, a poor appetite or overeating, or big changes in sleep patterns.

Finally, look for a loss of interest or enjoyment in things you generally like to do.

"Being aware of them puts us in a position to manage them, not necessarily reduce them, but manage them in a way where our functioning, our identity, our quality of life is not overly disrupted," said Dr. Charny.

Changes like more exercise, a new hobby, or new social contacts can often jumpstart a brighter mood. Set some goals, and a plan.

"We talk about SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Oriented," said Dr. Charny.

To bring behavioral health help closer to those who need it, Main Line Health has therapists, or psychologists like Dr. Charny, in 20 primary care practices.
((Main Line Mental Health website, then Dr. Charny))

"The research suggests that most people, the first provider - the first healthcare provider - they speak to about mental health is their primary care physician, because they have a relationship with them," said Dr. Charny.
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