Social Distancing, Sheltering in Place, Quarantine, Self-Isolation. This is our world for a while. It is vital to work together as a community to reduce risk and stay healthy, but mental health counts too! During this time of keeping distance there will be opportunities to reach out in new ways to keep ourselves and others from feeling lonely. Something that could help is having deeper and more meaningful conversations with people we love, or even acquaintances that we would like to know better. I checked around on the internet and compiled a list of conversation starters that could deepen the interactions we have with the people we care about.
Hopefully we can reflect on how well we know and understand each other and stay close in our isolation.
To read about additional ways of coping with COVID 19, use the CDC link in the “Links” tab.
Take care, be healthy and safe!
Good mental health is a thing that we can grow by enhancing what is positive in our lives. Pick one of the exercises listed in this article and try it for a week to see what happens. I’m choosing Three funny things: Write down the three funniest things that you experienced or participated in each day; also write about why the funny thing happened (e.g., was it something you created, something you observed, something spontaneous?) Growing what is positive will help with managing what is not. Be happier!
Do you want to get better? Working alongside you to find out what is meaningful, what works well and what motivates you is a privilege for me and I love my work! Helping you find personal strengths is what I do best.
We will develop action-oriented, practical, rational strategies so you will be independent and effective in dealing with real-life issues. Are you curious about how to be less anxious? I would be happy to teach you about mindfulness to make positive experiences bigger and negative feelings smaller. Come find meaning in love, work and play!
I invite you to be heard, to find connection, validation, and understanding as you share your stories and experiences. Don’t hesitate to get started. Feel better. Soon.
Virtual visits, (Telehealth), can make counseling available when you are not able to make it to the office. Sickness, bad weather, lack of childcare and difficult schedules could be accommodated by virtual visits. Please contact me for details if this sounds like a solution for you.
Transitions and change is inevitable and moving from one life stage to another is challenging. Some transitions can be managed gracefully while others may make you feel like the world has been turned upside down. Difficult life changes include:
Changes in Career
Grief and Loss
Counseling can help with transitioning smoothly by building resilience, confidence, and willingness to explore new opportunities.
“There are far, far better things ahead than anything we leave behind.” —C.S. Lewis
Everyone experiences an occasional blue mood; but feeling depressed is a more pervasive experience of repetitive negative thinking, a bleak outlook, and lack of energy. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People cannot merely “pull themselves together” and get better.
Some Common Symptoms of Depression are:
Feeling sad for no reason
Changes in appetite or sleep
If you feel sad and it isn’t going away, talk with someone who will help you replace negative thinking patterns, build hope and gain a feeling of empowerment.
“You’ve seen my descent, now watch my rising” —Rumi
Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. Often, the pain of loss can feel overwhelming. You may experience all kinds of difficult and unexpected emotions, from shock or anger to disbelief, guilt, and profound sadness. The pain of grief can also disrupt your physical health, making it difficult to sleep, eat, or even think straight. These are normal reactions to loss—and the more significant the loss, the more intense your grief will be.
If you are experiencing a significant or prolonged reaction to loss consider reaching out for help.
“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.”
― Leo Tolstoy
Occasionally worrying about problems is unavoidable, but when worry becomes pervasive and affects major life areas it is likely that worry has become an anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of an anxiety disorder include:
Can’t control worrying
Loss of concentration
Feeling restless or on edge
Irritability or anger
Feeling like something awful might happen
Changing thought patterns, learning relaxation skills, and talking with someone who can help identify sources of anxiety are effective ways to manage constant worry, fear and panic.
No longer forward nor behind I look in hope and fear; But grateful take the good I find, The best of now and here.
— John G. Whittier
Being LGBTQ Is not a mental disorder, but the stigma that LGBTQ individuals experience can lead to serious mental health concerns:
LGBTQ affirming therapy addresses the effects of stigma and above all, nurtures an integrated sense of self.
We should indeed keep calm in the face of difference. Let’s live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity.”–George Takei
If you have experience trauma you may be struggling with upsetting emotions, frightening memories, or a sense of constant danger. When bad things happen it can take a while to move past the pain and feel safe again.
The lasting effects of trauma include:
It’s been a long time and you’re not feeling any better
You’re having troubles functioning at home or work
You’re having terrifying memories, nightmares or flashbacks
You’re having a difficult time connecting with others
You’re experiencing suicidal thinking
You’re avoiding things that remind you of the past
Healing from traumatic events will change your life and realize your own strengths and resiliency. Counseling will help you apply those strengths to new goals and a sense of purpose.
“You are so much more than what has been done to you” — Karen Salmansohn
Are you enraged when someone cuts you off in traffic? Does your blood pressure skyrocket when a coworker is unreasonable? Anger is a normal, even healthy emotion, but uncontrolled it will take a toll on your health and relationships.
Think about this:
Out of control anger hurts your health
Out of control anger hurts your mental health
Out of control anger hurts relationships
Out of control anger hurts your career
The goal of anger management is to reduce the intensity of the emotion and the physical reaction. Learning to manage anger is a challenge for everyone at times. Consider seeking help if you feel out of control, do things you regret, or hurt those around you.
“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” ― Ambrose Bierce
Mindfulness is a way of learning to relate directly to whatever is happening in your life, a way of being responsible for your life, a way of doing something for yourself. By using mindfulness you learn how to slow down, to recognize the warning signs of stress and to stay focused and relaxed. Some of the benefits of learning mindfulness are:
Deeper understanding of emotions and thoughts
More calm and contentment
Greater appreciation of life
Life is full of stressful events such as difficult relationships, demanding work, health problems, money issues, and too much to do in too little time. When the level of stress exceeds your ability to cope you will benefit from counseling combined with mindfulness training.
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” —Jon Kabat Zinn
You can know that your relationship needs rescuing when…
You aren’t talking
You’re always talking, but it is negative
You keep secrets
You feel that everything would be better if your partner would just change
You and your partner lead separate lives
You can’t trust
Every relationship has a glitch now and then, even arguments that carry over for days, but sometimes differing views feel impossible to resolve. Working together with a counselor is an effective way to find common ground while developing positive communication skills, mutual respect, and admiration. Don’t wait to save what matters most.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
– Lao Tzu