April 20, 2020

How Our Therapists Are Coping with Social Distancing

Written by Rachel Eddins

social distancing single daisy flowerWe are all impacted by the effects of the global coronavirus. The changes we’ve all experienced from social distancing, the disconnect from physical interactions, the unknown for the future, and loss and grief are challenging. At the same time, there is a lot we can do in the present moment to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our lives.

We asked our therapists how they are coping and what strategies they are using to maintain positivity with social distancing. Our hope is that you can use these strategies to face the coming weeks with support and resilience.

Here is what our therapists said:

1. Being Present in the Moment

“I’m taking walks outside and noticing the beauty of nature around me. I’m being aware of my surroundings and mindful of of my what I see around me, feeling my feet on the earth and being mindful of my surroundings.”

When we are completely present in the moment, we are “safe”. When our brain is connected to the present moment, we experience less anxiety and stress because we are sending a signal to the primitive parts of our brain that right now everything is ok. Focusing on our five senses helps us to feel grounded, safe and secure. 

2. Setting Realistic Expectations for Myself

“I’m softening expectations for myself and not expecting it to be like any other day. I will recognize my limits and honor them.” Whether it’s how long I can sit in front of a computer screen, letting go of guilt for kids having more screen time than usual or getting frustrated with myself for yelling at kids. I’m giving myself permission to be human and practice self-compassion with myself.

3. Spending Time Outside

“Exercising, walking, being mindful outdoors, and appreciating the outdoor beauty and gardening helps me to feel connected to the world around me.”

4. Practicing Gratitude for What is RIGHT in My Life at This Moment

Practicing gratitude is such a great way to stay present and really take a moment to take a look at the positive things in your life. Try this technique, shared by Diana Cabrera- Stewart, to get started. At the end of your day journal and focus on 4 positives using the acronym GLAD:

G – something for which I’m grateful
L – something I learned
A – something I accomplished
D – something in which I delighted

5. Do Creative Things Around the House

“I’m picking up creative projects I’ve wanted to do but didn’t make time to do.” Read our checklist of things you can do to comfort yourself, including creative activities you can try. 

6. Listening to Music

Music has the power to lift or change our mood in many ways. And listening to music associated with good memories in our life can have an additional lift. Music boosts the dopamine (feel good chemicals) in our brain.

7. Slowing Down

“I’m taking this time to re-energize, reconnect with myself and others, and slow down.” I hadn’t realized how much I needed it until I was practically forced to slow down and do less.

8. Focusing on What I Have Control Over

There’s so much beyond our control right now. I’m asking myself, “what can I do everyday that gives me a feeling of control?” Getting outside for an hour each day, sticking to a routine, being kinder to myself are a few things I’m focusing on each day.

9. Playing More

Playing with the dogs, kids, etc… Play is a powerful source of pleasure and relaxation!

10. Letting Myself Cry and Feel my Feelings

“It took some time to realize I was anxious. Finally, I accessed some sadness/grief I had inside and letting myself cry allowed the anxiety to melt away.” When we feel overwhelmed, we can practice “name it to tame it”. Simply identifying our emotions can start to regulate them. Feeling what we feel can help them get unstuck and released. This worksheet can help you identify what you are feeling.

Do you feel overwhelmed?

11. Connecting More with Others

“While I can’t connect in person (and need the hugs!), I’m making more time to connect with people from all aspects of my life.” Old friends I haven’t talked to in ages, my social support system, my family. I’m taking more time each day to reach out and connect.

12. Moving my Body

“I’ve noticed that my body feels more tense than usual so I’m making time each day to move my body.” When we’re experiencing grief or trauma, moving our body can help us to get unstuck. This video explains why that is so important right now as we all experience the impact of the covid-19 pandemic. 

13. Finding Meaning in this Experience

“I’m focusing on finding meaning in the moment.” Consider what is most important to you in your life right now. What feels meaningful and important? How can you create meaning in your day to day life? It doesn’t have to be something big, but rather focus on the little things. What matters most to you? Your connections? Pursuing your dreams?

14. Choose Something to do for Yourself Each Day

“I’m recognizing that self sacrifice does not make a good parent.” Now is a great time to work on that right because it’s easy to put family and others first. I’m purposefully choosing to do something for myself every day.

15. Focusing on Living Life to the Fullest Today

Ask yourself what can I do to create meaning in my life today, what are my values and what am I putting off that I can do today? Take a moment to look at your life today and explore your values.  Take an inventory of your life’s values and identify what is most important to you in each area of your life. Here is a worksheet to help you get started. While there are many things we can’t pursue due to social distancing, there are many ways I can fulfill my most important values in this moment by the way I choose to act and show up each day.

Get Additional Support

Checking in with a therapist can help you stay on track to thinking and feeling in ways that support your resilience. You may benefit from an occasional check in, or a regular touchpoint to maintain connection and support in thinking and feeling good.

We offer online therapy, which is easy to access while we are social distancing or beyond.

Follow Us on Social Media for Additional Tips, Resources and Live Interviews

We will continue to share resources to help you feel your best and cope with social distancing on social media. We offer regular live interviews and webinars for emotional, relationship, career and body wellness.

Follow us on Facebook, instagram, linkedin, twitter, or pinterest.

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