As founder of our organization of Single families, I have the great privilege to meet professionals, and persons of wisdom that really are interested in our well-being as a group locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. This week I met with our Steering Committee who really wanted to lean in on the mental and emotional health of our community.
So, I got to speak to a professional counselor from the North Texas area, and she sent me some information to share. It is intended that all of these suggestions would be considered to help calm the storm in our hearts, homes, and minds when life gets crazy as we are working from home, home- schooling our children, and keeping proper social distancing due to COVID -19. Many of us have lost jobs, and have no clue about our finances, much less, our certainty even of a next meal, or other such concerns…so, the stress/anxiety can create a need for knowing and growing in ourselves to deal productively with these items ourselves, and also to teach our children how to deal with them as well.
All of these recommendations can and should be adapted for our current state of concern, and in compliance with our local, state and national authorities as we weather this together.
It can be hard to nurture relationships when you aren’t seeing your
peers face-to-face. This is when social media and the internet can be so
wonderful. Check on your friends, have a virtual dinner date, or chat
about what shows you’ve been watching. Don’t put your friendships on
the back burner. We need each other now more than ever.
We’re not all born with artistic ability, but that’s okay – it doesn’t mean
we can’t benefit from putting energy into creating something. Write a
story, document this time in history, paint, sketch, color, record videos,
organize your closet, bake, take pictures, play an instrument, do
anything that gets your creativity flowing.
During a time of uncertainty and stress, find small things that bring
you joy. These positive outlets cannot be underestimated.
Sometimes when you least “feel like” doing them is when you
need them the most! For me, I have enjoyed gardening around my home, writing poems (yes…), and practicing musical theory. I also have been doing some “spa” days where I do a face mask, touch up my nails, hair color, or even spend extra time with my pets.
There are countless distractions and barriers to getting rest, but
adequate sleep can affect your mood, emotional stability, and positive
thinking. Try starting a nighttime routine to alert your body that you’re
about to go to sleep; this could include washing your face, doing a
5-minute meditation, putting your phone away, or lowering the lights. I have begun to do yoga on Audible in the morning and the evening am reading a self help book by a new friend named Kelly Acceta – The Truth Coach.
Take A Break
Our society is in a state of information overload. Try to f ind time in your
day to put your phone down and stop consuming news and information
about the pandemic. You need to take some time away from it and
breathe. Put on some headphones and listen to music you love, do a
guided meditation, or just have some “me-time” to reflect and relax. I have been lighting a candle and praying for friends, for our world and my family.
Move your body, break a sweat, and release endorphins in your
brain! Everyone has access to the benefits of exercise. Go for a
walk, do yoga, dance in your room, ride your bike, find an
at-home workout—anything to get up and get moving. Walks, bike rides, dancing in the kitchen..yep…..watching my friend “The Health Engineer at 12N when I can and doing a virtual workout is fun too.
If you’re stressed, overwhelmed, or scared, talk to a trusted adult or
friend about how you’re feeling. Talking about how you feel and
expressing your emotions can lighten the load, even if the situation or
problem hasn’t changed. You don’t have to feel what you feel alone. It is SO important that we do not isolate and we don’t teach our kids to isolate. Please call an area YMCA, Church, or even school counselor to talk. Friends and family often have a hard time when they cannot be there for one another, especially if everyone is facing challenges. Be sure to manage expectations, and take the high road. Be vulnerable and love first, empathize and find a hand up from people who care more than you know :).
For more mental health tips and information, visit https://GrantHalliburton.org
If you only have literally ONE MINUTE to calm and get centered, consider the following: these are great to use preventatively to avoid a meltdown.
- Pause – Just stop what you are doing. Stop moving, stop talking. Stop. Just stop.
- Check in – Notice and name sensations you are feeling in your body, i.e. “My neck is tight, my shoulders are hunched, my stomach is in knots….
- Admit – Say out loud how you are feeling “I’m scared and I’m about to lose it!” “I’m feeling angry and I’m about to blow my stack!”
- Breathe – Breathe in slowly for a count of four to eight and out for a count of four to eight. Do this at least four times.
- Make space – Pull your attention back and notice all the space around you.
- Drink water – Stand up and drink a full glass of water slowly.
- Look around – Say out loud ten objects you see around you, i.e. “green paint, yellow bowl, red rug, colorful painting…”
- Outside – Walk outside for a minute and breathe in the fresh air.
- Make contact – If another adult is around make eye contact or ask for a word of validation. If you are only with your children or alone, look in the mirror and tell yourself you are safe and loved.
- Big Hug – Eye to eye, skin to skin, heart to heart. Hang on until one of you breathes a big sigh of relief. This can be with your family members safe in your home
- Set an intention – “I choose to feel (spacious, calm, easy, loving, playful…Add your own…
If you can plan, or pull aside for 10-30 minutes:
- Get Wet – Take a swim, hot shower or bath.
- Call a friend – Talk to an adult who can empathize and reflect with you and how you are feeling.
- Make tea – Make a cup of tea and sip it slowly.
- Move – Take a walk, do some yoga poses, do jumping jacks, run up and down the stairs…
- Eat – Make a healthy and yummy snack and savor it.
- Music – Put on your favorite music. If you feel inspired, dance a little bit!
- Pray/Meditate – Close your eyes, get still and connect with your inner being. Add your own…
If you can set aside 60 minutes or more,
- Date – With your mate or with family members – even play games together or online and have some fun! Spend some COVID-19 compliant adult time with people you love and/or respect.
- Exercise – Walk around the lake, take a yoga class, play tennis with a friend. Whatever brings you joy and gets you moving for at least an hour – make sure you honor COVID-19 social distancing safety measures.
- Movie – “Netflix and Chill” movie and get lost in a great story.
- Nap – Sleep whenever you can.
- Music – Listen/Watch a concert. Play an instrument. Listen to your favorite singer / group, etc. Study musical theory.
- Dance –many dance tutorials are available online. Watch and learn and learn to move!!!
Adapted from www.carriecontey.com