Coping in the time of Covid

 

An unseen enemy quietly and swiftly has created great change in all our lives.  To defeat it, we have been tasked with separating ourselves from one another, and from much of what we have come to know and love in life. Ironically, this separation is how we come together in battle – to suffer the least loss of life, as this virus attacks the most vulnerable in our communities.

We are moving through a time of collective trauma, struggling against anxiety, fear, and radical change,  all while grieving losses too numerous to count.  And in this, we must somehow adapt and cope in ways that keep us healthy, both physically and mentally.

On March 14, 2020 I made the decision to switch my counselling services during this time to virtual and telephonic counselling only to ensure safety for all my clients. Clients can choose from 3 different secure platforms to utilize for video counselling -Zoom Pro, Medeo, or Doxy.me.  Unfortunately, that means that Reece won’t be an active participant in our sessions for the time being, other than the occasional bark or peek-a-boo on screen if requested.

If you’re feeling heightened anxiety-I’ve spoken to many people who say they feel like they’re having a hard time taking a deep breath-it may be that your body is in fight or flight mode. To alleviate that feeling, take a long slow deep breath right down to your belly, pushing it outwards as you breathe in, then hold for 2 or 3 counts, then exhale slowly, your belly contracting toward your spine as you do so. Make sure that your exhale is longer than your inhale – this prevents hyperventilation. Repeat this for 10 rounds frequently during the day.

Be careful about how much coffee, pop and tea you are drinking. If it’s caffeinated this can ramp up feelings of anxiety and increase your heart rate.

Start your day in a relaxing way if you can. Cortisol-the stress hormone – is at it’s highest level for the first hour after waking in the morning. If you rush to tune in to social media or the news, you’re pushing your cortisol levels higher.  Instead, do a round of deep breathing, a bit of stretching, think of 3-5 things you are grateful for (a scientifically backed method of improving your mood), put on some relaxing music, hydrate and/or do anything else you enjoy that calms you.

Create an upbeat playlist to play during the day and sing or hum along with it. Singing and humming help to activate your Vagus nerve, signaling to your brain and body, that everything is okay.

As much as possible, if possible, get out into nature. Nature experiences also help to lower your cortisol levels.

Below, I’ve included links to articles that have useful information to help you manage this difficult to manage time.  Stay safe and stay healthy, and if you feel you need extra support, reach out. Social connections and positive relationships  are essential to our well-being. Lisa

 

https://elemental.medium.com/if-there-was-ever-a-time-to-activate-your-vagus-nerve-it-is-now-2227e8c6885b

 

https://www.verywellmind.com/grounding-techniques-for-ptsd-2797300?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=shareurlbuttons

 

http://www.sfu.ca/olc/blog/my-ssp/mental-health-wellness-tips-quarantine

 

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