BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — During the COVID-19 pandemic, essential workers are still required to work every day.

While the numbers continue to rise, personal protection equipment is becoming scarce, leaving many essential workers without protective gear and with anxious thoughts. But how can they combat those feelings of stress and anxiety?

Dr. Kristi Dumas is the owner of Dumas Psychology Collective in Beckley. She said it is okay to feel stressed during this time, but offered some ways to reduce the anxious feelings.

“A great way to deal with the anxiety and stress is to stay grounded in the present,” Dr. Dumas said. “To remind yourself that in this moment, at this very time, I am okay. There’s a lot of things that I can’t control, I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but right now, in this moment, I’m okay.”

Dr. Dumas said we have to allow ourselves some grace; while it is important to stay on top of your mental health, it is okay not have everything figured out.

“It is okay to not be okay right now,” Dr. Dumas said. “That is a natural response to a very unnatural situation that’s going on in our society.”

If you are having feelings of stress and anxiety, reach out to someone you can trust, whether that be a psychologist, parent, or even a friend.

“To think that their mental health is not important and that it should not be a paramount of importance in this time is a fallacy,” Dr. Dumas said. “We have to make mental health a primary concern for all of those who are essential or on the front lines, and even for those of us who are at home.”