We are living in uncertain times. Each day brings more news of confirmed Coronavirus cases, stock market slumps, and toilet paper droughts. Schools are closed, sports are cancelled, and even Tom Hanks is in quarantine. How is it that we are supposed to “keep calm and carry on” in the midst of this global crisis? There is no definite path to serenity I can offer. What we have is what we have always had, the basics.
In times of distress remember the gold standard in airline safety and “always put your mask on first.” Begin with your breath. Focus on deep, diaphragmatic breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. This actively slows the heart rate and signals to your brain that you aren’t in danger and it’s safe to calm down.
Next, consider how much information you are taking in. Between TV, radio, and social media we are inundated with an overwhelming amount of news throughout the day. Decide for yourself what boundaries you may need to put in place here. Allow yourself to escape from the news at times, like a mini “staycation” each night.
And lastly, give yourself permission to get distracted. Find a show that lets you turn your brain off or take a walk in the sunshine. Social distancing is important for community health, but you may also find positive ways to contribute, like donating to a food pantry or calling to check in on loved ones. In short, be who you have always been and will continue to be when this crisis is over. Just wash your hands more.
In light of the national emergency, our practice now offers telehealth in most cases. Speak to your therapist about whether this method of remote therapy may be right for you. See the telehealth tab on this site for more information and important forms.