COPING DURING COVID-19
Feeling like your world has been turned upside down?
Unusually stressed now that your go to strategies to cope when times are tough have been taken away?
Is there increased stress and tension in your household as you transition to all being home?
Feeling like a failure as a parent because you are being asked to be a parent, teacher, partner and employee simultaneously?
Or are you on the front lines of this crisis, doing your job as usual, except there is nothing usual about your day anymore?
THERE IS NOTHING ORDINARY ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW.
NEW JERSEY HAS BEEN HIT INCREDIBLY HARD BY COVID-19; THIS UNFORGIVING VIRUS.
CHANCES ARE, YOU HAVE ALREADY BEEN IMPACTED PERSONALLY OR YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN.
IF YOU ARE ON THE FRONT LINES BATTLING THIS PANDEMIC, YOU ARE FEELING IT EVEN MORE INTENSELY. AND WE CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR YOUR SERVICE AND DEDICATION.
YOU ARE LIKELY FEELING A RANGE OF ANXIETY, GRIEF, LOSS, ANGER & DEPRESSION.
ALL OF WHICH IS NORMAL TO FEEL. BUT ARE YOU FEELING THEM TO EXCESS WHERE YOU ARE HAVING DIFFICULTY ADJUSTING THROUGHOUT THE DAY AND WEEK?
IF SO, ASKING FOR HELP SOONER RATHER THAN LATER WILL PAY OFF GREATLY LATER.
IT'S OKAY TO ASK FOR A LITTLE BIT OF HELP AS YOU NAVIGATE THIS UNPRECEDENTED AND UNNERVING TIME.
ONLINE THERAPY SESSIONS ARE STILL AVAILABLE TO SUPPORT YOU DURING THIS TIME.
WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
The isolation, the quarantine, the loneliness all make it difficult to remember that you are not alone in what you are experiencing. In fact, the global scale of this pandemic makes it such that we are literally experiencing this throughout the world together. Yet the day to day, minute by minute challenges, struggles and anxieties trick us into thinking we are very much alone on this.
SO WHY DOES IT FEEL SO LONELY?
It feels lonely because you have settled into a new routine but are seeing only your immediate family, day in and day out. Normal social occasions have come to a halt. Your usual outlets to relieve stress and tension are gone or drastically changed. If you have children, they are now home from daycare or school and you are left trying to figure out how to juggle your usual daily activities with their education and social needs. And any lingering unaddressed issues at home are now staring you in the face literally 24/7. Now, more than ever, it is important to find new ways of dealing and coping, particularly since your old outlets are changed or no longer available.
I DON'T FEEL LIKE MYSELF. IS THIS ANXIETY?
Short answer. Most likely yes. There is much to be concerned about when it comes to COVID-19. Grocery shopping and having the daily essentials are now hard to come by. Did you ever think you would have to wait to access a website to order groceries? That is now a reality in New Jersey. Ever think you would be expected to be mom, partner, teacher and employee simultaneously?
Those who are pregnant are wondering if the supports they have planned on having available will in fact be. Some are considering a change in providers and birthing locations. Rapidly changing hospital policies are adding to the stress and anxiety. For those with infants and early in the postpartum period, this REALLY is NOT what you were expecting!
I have believed for the longest time that anxiety responses fall somewhere near two buckets: helpful and unhelpful. Think for a minute about the biological benefits of anxiety. When kept properly in check, anxiety helps us to prepare for what matters most and keeps us healthy and out of harms way. Anxiety as an emotion largely evolved as a mechanism to keep us safe. Awareness and vigilance to danger keeps us alive, simply put. This has been around for centuries and generations.
You may be asking yourself if your anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic is rational or not. To begin to answer that question, I refer you out to the CDC website and encourage you to follow their recommended best practices and use your anxiety in its biologically intended manner.
IT'S MORE THAN ANXIETY. IT'S PROFOUND GRIEF.
Grief is profound right now. Here in New Jersey, due to shear number of positive cases and mortality rate, many are beginning to have close personal impacts and loses as a result of COVID-19. For those who do die from the virus, the traditional grieving process encompassing a funeral, religious ceremony and/or gathering of close friends and family to mourn is not available. Others are grieving a loss of social community, celebrations of milestone achievements, or a drastic change in every day life. Put simply, grief is a prevalent feeling right now.
HOW CAN ONLINE THERAPY HELP?
It is times likes these when therapy can be incredibly helpful. Online therapy sessions can provide necessary time away from the usual flow of the day to reflect on the situation in a different way. Talking with a trained professional can help you be able to see the situation from a different perspective, find new ways to cope and thrive and help you see how the way you think impacts your behaviors and emotional state of being. When it comes to anxiety, we tend to focus on the negative or the potential harm and ignore that which is good or positive.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO COPE RIGHT NOW?
Simply put, it's back to the basics of mental wellness. Develop a new routine, practice healthy sleep habits, eat a well balanced diet, stay active either by light to moderate exercise daily and make sure to get outside when the weather permits. Hopefully by now, a new routine is emerging and you can begin to find a little bit of time to pick up a new habit that you would not have done otherwise. Play with your children more than you would have been able to otherwise, learn to bake, take up knitting, have dance parties in between meetings.
I know it's hard to manage your own anxiety and grief in the midst of this but children tend to model our responses. They are having their own feelings about this and will follow our example. If you are finding that your anxiety or grief is too overwhelming for you right now, please reach out for help. You do not have to manage this alone. To schedule a time to talk about how online therapy can help you, click the "Schedule Phone Consultation" button or contact me through the form below.