By Joyce Stewart, Counseling Clinical Supervisor
April 22, 2020
I was asked to write a blog sharing what our clients have been experiencing during this time of social distancing but our clients aren’t any different than I see ourselves. We are all in this together, we are all humans learning how to navigate through changes we did not see coming, did not have time to adequately prepare for and don’t know how or when it will all be over. We all have children, families, spouses, friends, coworkers and neighbors going through this local and global transition with us. So, I wanted to share some information to help you navigate through all this change so when it is over, you will be in a better place than where you were when it started.
Physical – The stronger your immune system is, the less likely you are to contract the virus. Listen to your body and ask it what it needs during this time to feel relaxed, healthy and safe. Eat healthy foods, get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of water, exercise, wash your hands, keep your distance from others and wear a mask when needed. Fear is one of the emotions that creates stress which then compromises your immune system. So as much as you can, limit the amount of news you watch and when you are around fearful people, be a voice of hope and encouragement. Together we can get through this and make our world a better place to live.
Mental – Times like these can generate self-defeating and worrisome thoughts that can keep you in a state of anxiety and prevent restful sleep. Traumas from the past can get re-triggered, unhealthy relationships can become worse, jobs can be lost, and friends and family members can die. So, the worry is justified. Acknowledge what is happening, but then stop and see if you can find a positive way to reframe it, something to be grateful for. For there is always a light in the darkness if we take the time to look for it. Focus on what you can do rather than what you can no longer do. Learn something new like playing a new game, making a new recipe, starting a new craft project. Our thoughts create our reality so spend time visualizing yourself and everyone else healthy and being together again.
Emotional – Today people are experiencing greater fear, anxiety, sadness and confusion. We have all been exposed to some rapid changes that were out of our control over the past several weeks creating a stressful environment. Acknowledge what you are feeling and find appropriate ways to express and release the feelings rather than attaching to them and making them your identity. Become knowledgeable about what is going on and this will bring a sense of control back into your life. Keep doing as many of your normal routines and rituals as you can. Be around people who love and support you virtually or in person if it is safe to do so. This can help reduce the intensity of your emotions.
Spiritual – If you only keep your eyes on what is going on in the physical world around you, life can seem scary. However, when you take time to nurture your spirit through prayer, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, being in nature and reading uplifting positive words, you will feel increased calm and peace in your daily life. Don’t isolate but find creative ways to connect with people you care about. Find people you can bless and if you are able to, donate to a favorite charity that is helping people through this time.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed in times like these and if nothing you have tried is working for you, please don’t keep it to yourself: seek professional help.