ST. LOUIS ( -- If you're struggling with the stress of the novel coronavirus outbreak, you're not the only one.

With few places to go to get out of the house, a lot of people in the St. Louis area are going to Forest Park to walk and run off some stress. Experts say the outbreak takes a mental toll on a lot of people and have recommended several steps to help alleviate the effects. 

Psychiatrist Dr. Jon Paruch talked to News 4 about what people can do while they are social distancing to keep themselves sane, saying they should limit time on social media and instead make "self-care" a priority, whether that's running, calling a friend, or taking a bath.

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Dr. Paruch, who is now seeing all his patients over teleconference, also urges everyone, especially those now working from home, to stick to a routine.

"Structure is fundamental to our health and well-being and not having that structure makes it difficult to do the things that we were used to doing," he said. "Go to bed at the same time, wake up at the same time even though you're at home. Get up and have an agenda for the day."

Additionally, many now gone weeks without physically seeing some of loved ones.

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Doctors say because of this, suicide rates are likely to go up. Children, teens and older adults are the most at risk.

"I think hope gives the opportunity that there's another day to be had and it's only by connecting with another human that we can see that sometimes," Dr. Paruch said. 

So whether it's virtual chats, or neighbors talking six feet apart he encouraged everyone to make connection a priority.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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