For the safety of clients and staff, appointments are currently held via phone or secure video conferencing.
In person appointments are very limited at this time.
Paddling Through The Pandemic
Sally Guaspari, LCPC
Its been almost a year and the effects of the pandemic on our mental health are evident everywhere….people are bored, restless, depressed, hopeless, and cranky. I was interested to listen to a psychiatrist on the news this morning about to give tips on improving our moods during this crisis. In her defense, she was not given much time, so she only mentioned progressive relaxation techniques, which are helpful for anxiety and self-care in general, but I feel it just is not enough. Here are some of my own tips that I share with clients:
Activity – even a short walk can make a difference. Movement encourages blood flow and the release of endorphins. Being in nature is preferable, but if the weather is not cooperating, browse YouTube for all sorts of short instructions – Qigong, Yoga, Walking (at home), to more intense workouts. We tend to be more unmotivated and lethargic when depressed, so you may have to really push yourself to get more activity in your day.
Plan – I know many of our plans were squashed last year, so we may be reluctant to arrange a celebration or vacation, but looking forward to something fun gives us the hope we are lacking right now. Even if it is just a short “safe” getaway or gathering, a trip in the distant future, or a socially distant beer with a friend this weekend, plan and make a date for something/anything to anticipate.
Goals – Similar to planning, setting goals assists with hope and can gives us a sense of accomplishment. Learn something new, eat better, organize a closet, volunteer, exercise, consider a new job. It is also important not to get discouraged if goals are not perfectly met. The adage “Shoot for the moon, you may land on a star” is always applicable with goal setting.
Marinate (in joy) – When something amuses us – makes us laugh or smile or brings us joy – really REALLY feel it….marinate in the moment and the feeling. Don’t let it be fleeting, only to return to feelings of anger or negativity. Stay in that moment for as long as you can. When you do this, you are training your brain to naturally become more positive, so do it often.
Social – We are social creatures and the isolation of the pandemic has caused such disconnection. I believe we are forgetting how to “be” with one another. News stories are filled with hatred and intolerance. Commercials influence us think we need to all be on meds or have showroom-worthy homes and brand-new vehicles. Be careful not to compare yourself to others or judge or it will cause us to feel cynical and less-than (and discourage us to be social). We’ve been living in our own little worlds for the most part and they have gotten smaller. Be mindful of our thinking and how intolerant we may have become of others that may think, look, or behave differently than us. Don’t forget how to “be” with others – appreciating the differences in each other and even celebrating those differences.
Kindness – No matter what our differences may be and what we may or may not agree upon, just be kind! Kindness to all humans, animals, and nature. We DO have a choice to be cruel or kind. Wake up in the morning choosing to spread love and appreciation everywhere. It changes your mood as well. Consider before whatever you say or do:
Is it True?
Is it Kind?
Is it Necessary?