Mental health help: Mother juggling multiple challenges shares tips on not getting overwhelmed

The pandemic has impacted how we live and work and it's taking a deep toll on our mental health as well. And most of us don't realize how that daily, chronic stress can slowly build up.

One mom. dealing with several ongoing challenges, said she hopes what she learned about coping will help others.

Cera Flynn has always tried to make mental health a priority, but the coronavirus pandemic has made it much harder to manage her anxiety and depression.

MORE: Tips on how to manage your mental health during COVID-19
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As part of Mental Illness Awareness week, we asked Southern California residents what they do to help manage their mental health during this difficult year. Eyewitness News viewers shared what they do.

"COVID has definitely impacted our life in many ways," she said.

At one point, Flynn was caring for her husband who had COVID-19, their terminally-ill puppy and trying to help her twin boys learn remotely all while working fulltime as a teacher's coach.

"In the moment, I think I was definitely just feeling overwhelmed. I was exhausted, I was beyond exhausted," Flynn said. "I don't even know if I could say I was depressed. I was just so overwhelmed and exhausted that I didn't know what I was feeling to be honest."

At times, Flynn said she survived on auto pilot just trying to get through the day. But her psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic was quick to remind her that she needed to take care of herself, too.

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ABC7's Denise Dador got tips from Psychiatrist Dr. Luis Sandoval, Psychologist Dr. Cheryl Grills, and "MomAngeles" blogger Laura Gerson during a virtual town hall about how to cope during the pandemic.

"She had an incredibly full plate and what we've worked on is for her to really try and balance it as best as she could while prioritizing her own needs without a feeling of guilt," Adam Borland, PsyD said.

Borland said deep breathing can help your mind get centered on the present. Take a few minutes to reset and focus on relaxing.

Being outdoors, even for a quick step outside, can help ground you. And talking to family or friends, just to vent, can be therapeutic.

"I will always tell people that talking to somebody, having that person, that safe person to talk to about what you're thinking and feeling is so important," Flynn said. "And not just for people who struggle with anxiety. In the world that we live in today, it's beneficial to anybody."
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