Updated: Mar 19, 2020
COVID-19 - Tips for Patients:
In light of the recent events that have taken place in the world, tending to our health (both physically and mentally) is more important than ever. In this situation where we might often feel like we do not have control, it will be important for us to exert agency in areas where we do. In addition to keeping your regularly scheduled therapy appointments, here are some tips on how to adjust to this disruption in our daily living:
Recreate a structured environment:
Due to social distancing and increasing work-from-home protocols, it is likely that the structure that we were once used to has been uprooted somewhat, if not significantly. During this time especially, it will be important to create structure in this new temporary norm. Try taking 5-15 minutes to get up from your couch/bed/chair/computer/phone throughout the day to -
3. Call/Facetime a loved one, friend, family member
4. Journal - what has this experience been like, what are you feeling, what thoughts have these events brought up for you?
6. Reacquaint yourself with past hobbies
7. Learn something new
8. Organize that junk drawer that has been collecting dust
9. Test out your culinary skills and make something new
10. Create a sleep hygiene routine (wash face, brush teeth, shower, meditate, drink tea, read, put your electronic devices away)
Normalize your anxiety:
We are objectively living in a more stressful time right now. How we are being asked to respond to what is happening is changing rapidly and there is no assured ending. These situational conditions are bound to create anxiety in most of us and trigger fear of the unknown.
Validate the emotions, NOT the content:
1. Make space for the very real and valid emotions that you are having in response to what is going on.
2. Try to not overly validate the predictive, assumptive and possibly judgmental thoughts that emerge in response to what is going on. Example - validate the anxiety that you feel, but be mindful of not validating the prediction that something bad will happen to yourself or a loved one or the assumption that things will not change. (When we overly validate and identify with our automatic thoughts, we are giving life to ideas that we cannot necessarily substantiate, resulting in an increase in anxiety and facilitation of unhelpful thought processes).
Focus on what you can control!
While our anxious minds may suggest that worry is productive, we know that the amount we worry does not have a direct impact on how much or how little we suffer.
What we can do is choose how we would like to see ourselves responding to these unprecedented events (via our attitudes, behavior and where we focus our minds).
Take appropriate measures to keep yourself safe and cared for.
- Brittany Butts, LMHC
Clinical Director of Jamron Counseling