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Tony Long-Drew of Still Waters Counseling shares tips for working from home, managing anxiety and other feelings

PMG FILE PHOTO - Tony Long-Drew of Still Waters Counseling is offering free sessions for the next several Saturdays.

From the best practices for working from home to managing difficult emotions, community members may have a lot on their minds during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tony Long-Drew of Still Waters Counseling in Estacada, who is offering free sessions for the next several Saturdays, shared some advice for navigating the uncertainty of life during the coronavirus and all of the changes it has caused in the local community and world at large.

Long-Drew noted that "finding a new normal" and "appreciating the human contact that we do get to have" during this time of social distancing are valuable.

Social media can be a useful tool to do this. Whether it's through written messaging or video conversations, outlets like Facebook, Skype and Zoom offer ways to stay connected from a distance.

"Don't be afraid to use social media to connect with your extended family, and widen that circle," Long-Drew said.

He added that many people may be feeling anxiety during this time — which is understandable.

"Don't feel guilty about feelings of anxiety. It's a built in fight or flight response. Sad, stressed, confused — it's normal to feel those things right now," he said. "Leave a space for fear. Allow yourself to do that, but then turn to distracting yourself. Be mindful (of how you're feeling) but then turn the channel."

It's also helpful to keep in mind that essential services like grocery stores and health care locations are still open amid a time of many closures.

"It's very important to reassure people of the control that they do have," he said.

For those working from home, it's valuable to keep a consistent schedule and have designated areas to work.

"For families who are quarantined together, find spots to do things. Have a homework space and a work space. Stay away (from working in) the living room. That should be used as the family space," Long-Drew said. "If you're working from home, keep a balance. Keep your work schedule consistent."

It's also helpful to keep a routine, including showering and eating at normal times.

"Exercise always helps. Be active in the house," he added.

And sometimes, no matter what the situation is, the best medicine is always laughter.

"Social media can be used in that way, with friends sending each other funny things to laugh at. That's healthy. Look for the things that are funny, and don't forget to laugh," Long-Drew said.

Mental Health Resources

Still Waters Counseling: Tony Long-Drew of Still Waters Counseling in Estacada is offering free half-hour counseling sessions on Saturday, April 4, and Saturday, April 11. For more information, call 971-346-1517.

National Alliance on Mental Illness: Connect with multiple resources, including information focused on coronavirus. Visit nami.org.

Lines for Life: A 24-hour crisis line can offer support on a variety of topics. Call 800-273-8255 or text "273TALK" to 839863.

Senior Loneliness Line: Coordinated by Lines for Life, this service is designed for Clackamas County adults 55 or older who may be lonely or isolated. Volunteers can connect callers with resources or just listen. Call 503-200-1633.

Clackama County Crisis Line: Support is available 24-hours every day. Call 503-655-8585.


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