TELETHERAPY CAN HELP!
As an outpatient mental health therapist, I have had the privilege of performing teletherapy online and seeing my clients face this pandemic with resiliency and courage. In my humble opinion, it seems that during this crisis, if we had any behavior that was not balanced (overeating, overspending, etc.) it has been pronounced during this stressful time. Though I prefer to see my clients in the office, teletherapy has been helpful to my clients to help them gain perspective and become more balanced. Besides touching base with your therapist during weekly sessions, the below can also help you manage your anxiety during this stressful time.
- Set a schedule and be consistent with it. Do go to bed at a reasonable time.
- Dress in your street clothes. Do not wear your pajamas all day!
- Exercise every day. Be sure to get outside.
- Reduce your media intake (news, and FB). I recommend having a set time during the day for only 20-30 minutes. Do not consume news before bedtime.
- Reduce your caffeine intake. Caffeine is generally not great for anxiety. Try warm decaffeinated teas like chamomile. Try to eat as healthy as possible (lots of fruits and vegetables).
- Set one small goal to accomplish per day to help you stay motivated and to feel accomplished.
- Lower your standards—do not expect your kids or yourself to be extremely motivated during this time. It is hard to maintain our normal energy and motivation standards without external stimulation.
- Be kind and patient with yourself. It is normal to experience intense emotions right now. You may experience depressed mood or lower energy. Some of this may be normal but do reach out to professionals if the depression persists.
- Practice reframing. Whenever you have a negative thought like “I will never get back on my feet financially” reframe it to “Maybe I will come out of this financially stronger”. Challenge yourself to be positive.
- Stay connected. Do reach out to at least one friend or family member per day. If you do not have people close to you, look to social media forums and online support groups. Also, it is always good to walk outside and talk to your neighbors (while respecting social distancing).
- Focus on what you can control. While it is easy to feel out of control during this time, you can control how you spend your time, your schedule, your money, and your inner thoughts.
- Schedule “Worry time” every day. In this way, you are not worrying all day. Give yourself this worry time, schedule a teletherapy appointment with your therapist for extra emotional support during this time and then enjoy the rest of your day with gratitude for what is going well in your life.
Crossroads Counseling Center in Dubuque, Iowa has licensed and seasoned therapists that are only a click away. Have therapy sessions in the convenience of your own home to assist you during this stressful time. Most insurances do cover our services. Your mental health is important to us. We are here to help!
Valerie Gill, LISW, MSW