Self Care for Spring of 2020: Coping With Our New Normal
The Serenity Prayer is a wonderful reminder for all of us.
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.
I woke up this morning with great awareness that we are in a new normal. It’s a critical time for self care in our world. As we all face the reality of COVID-19, we have choices to make each day to protect ourselves and our families. Protection from physical harm is at the forefront of most people’s minds but equally important is protection from mental / emotional harm. Stress and anxiety can spread just as quickly as COVID-19 throughout our homes and communities. I believe we have an opportunity each day to bring peace and joy into our lives and the lives of those we love. I spent some time thinking about ways to practice wellness and bring those into your homes and for you and your families. Here are my tips and curation of helpful tools for maintaining emotional wellness during this challenging time:
Try to limit amount of time spent on internet / social media / cable news:
New information seems to be shared each day. Of course we don’t want to be ignorant about what is happening in our country or avoid reality but, we do have the choice to limit our exposure to the information. Spend 1 hour a day max surfing the next, reading articles posted via social media, watching cable news, chatting with friends about the situation. Then if any new action needs to be taken in your home, you can chose to take action and then move on to other things.
Great resources for up to date information:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe)
Centers for Disease Control (http://www.cdc.gov)
Or just change up what you are watching all together with positive news stories https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org
Mindfulness and Calming Actions:
- Spend 30 minutes walking outside in nature, 2 x / day
- Notice the colors in the sky, the smells in the air, the shapes of the buildings, the sounds of the streets. Connect to what you notice in the environment and not the stories playing in your mind.
- Take 5 deep breaths, Count to five on the inhale, hold for 3-5 seconds, count to 5 on the exhale, hold.
Taking conscious, deep breaths can help reset the central nervous system and calm the minds and body. This is the first defense we all have against building of anxiety.
Create a joyful sensory environment
- Light your favorite candle, play classical music, blast your favorite running playlist, whatever brings happiness to your surroundings.
- Have video time a friend and don’t talk about the virus.
- Watch a favorite old movie, build a puzzle, read a funny book.
- Snuggle your dog / cat / hamster / kids / partner / favorite blankets or pillows. The power of touch is incredibly soothing and grounding.
When feeling extremely anxious, stressed, consumed by your worries:
Listen to this short audio recording by the wonderful Dr. Russ Harris: Dropping Anchor 7 minutes. This can then be recreated anytime during the day you start to feel overwhelmed by your thoughts and feelings and are being taken out of the present moment.
Or you can take a moment to practice mindful breathing with one of our wonderful therapists Tamika.
Remember you have choices to make each day for what you experience, even when limitations are in place. If you feel you need more support during this time of crisis, you may benefit from Telehealth therapy. If you are in Colorado, please schedule or call 720-295-9522 ext. 506.