‘Plan For Resumption Of Pre-Coronavirus Normality’: Dr. Drew Pate On Maintaining Mental Health During Coronavirus

(CBS Local)– The unprecedented circumstances revolving around the coronavirus pandemic have forced individuals and families all over the world to create a new normal at home. While a lot is changing every single day, psychiatrist Dr. Drew Pate is stressing people to create a new sense of normal in their lives.

“The biggest thing is to maintain as much structure and continuity and normalcy as possible,” said Dr. Pate in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “Given all the unknowns that exist in every day life, we need to think about what we can do and how we can improve our community on a daily basis. You want to set aside your worry time and your time when you are thinking about other things.”

Dr. Pate is a psychiatrist based in Baltimore and he and his group are trying to figure out how to maintain contact with hundreds of patients. The psychiatrist says creating a new routine is an important first step in adapting to life at home.

“Think about the things that are essential to you in your daily life,” said Dr. Pate. “What you need to stay healthy and productive and how to build that into a routine that might be home based for the next few weeks. You want to create an environment for yourself that replicates an out-of-the-home environment, but you’re physically remaining there.”

While Dr. Pate has been telling some of his patients to limit the amount of information they take in about the coronavirus on social media, he also thinks these tools can benefit people isolated at home by themselves or with their families.

“You can connect with groups on your social media accounts and I would encourage people to use them for purely social and connective means,” said Dr. Pate. “Even if you have a couple of close friends you can reach out to through your religious organizations or social organizations on a daily basis. One of the things to do is think about what you will do when we come through all of this, which we will. One of the ways to maintain yourself is to think about the bars, restaurants, and activities you want to get back into. Plan for that resumption of pre-coronavirus normality.”