A Psychotherapist Shares How To Feel In Control When The World Seems Scary

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Hoboken has been doing an incredible job of taking the lead in the country with rules around self-isolation. However, this self-isolation will likely have a big impact on lots of people’s mental health as it continues.

Needless to say, all of this alone time could majorly impact someone’s mental health. But do remember that you are doing Hoboken and your community an amazing service by staying inside. That being said, don’t forget to check in with yourself and on your mental health whenever you can. Courtney Glashow of Hoboken-based Anchor Therapy wants us to remember that it is just as important to take care of your mind and body during this time. In order to do so, she’s sharing a few of her tips to feel like you’re in control, even when the world feels like it’s falling apart. Keep reading to learn her mental health tips:  

mental health tips anchor therapy

Taking Control

Right now many of us might feel a loss of control with everything going on in the world. But Courtney wants us to remember that there are still a lot of things that we can control in our respective lives right now. One big thing that you can control in your life is your daily routine. This has been the biggest thing that she has been talking to her clients about recently. Everyone’s daily schedule and routine have been turned upside down. Adults are working from home, kids are staying home, and many businesses are closed.

Your daily routine may have included things such as dropping your kids off at school, going to work, attending a gym class, having your home cleaned, getting your nails done, going out to eat, going to the movies, seeing a Broadway show, etc. All of these activities are no longer possible for us to do. In wake of that, however, we simply have to adjust and adapt to find a “new normal.” It is imperative that we all create a new routine. Courtney recommends writing a new routine down and trying it out with yourself, your roommates, and/or your family. If something isn’t working, then change it. Remember — you have the freedom to do so! 

Read More: 50 Things to Do at Home So You’re Never Bored

What to Remember When Creating Your Routine

Courtney shares a few themes + areas of our lives that we should focus on when creating our new routines for a new normal. 

Family

Family may be looking more and more like your main priority right now. You may notice that you are reaching out to your family members more than usual to check in on them, especially those who are older or who are immunocompromised. Given what’s going on, we will want to cherish our family more than ever. 

Make sure to schedule FaceTime/video chat sessions with your family to provide everyone with some much-needed social interaction. Feeling alone can become extremely isolating and this can lead to depressive symptoms. You want to keep you and your family’s mental health as strong as possible during this time as mental health conditions can lead to physical health issues. 

Plus, you can also take this time to educate your loved ones about the need to self-isolate. Not all areas of the country are taking it as seriously as Hoboken and the state of New Jersey. You can help them with the knowledge that you do have. Spreading this awareness can literally save lives. 

Physical Health

A positive thing you can do in your home for your physical health is exercise. There are a lot of local workout studios that have moved their classes to online platforms, so you can support both the community and help your physical fitness in one go. As you stay inside more, you may experience an increase in lack of motivation or energy. Keep your energy levels up by exercising ideally every day if you are not going outside. If you do go outside, go for a walk, run, or bike ride around town. Just be very mindful to stay at least six feet away from anyone else when doing so.

Also, try to eat a healthy +balanced diet throughout the day. Stress usually increases people’s disordered eating behaviors such as binge eating or eating less. Try to schedule in times to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eating will give you energy and nourish your immune system. If you find yourself feeling anxious, Courtney recommends limiting your caffeine intake as this can increase anxiety symptoms. On a positive note, cooking can become a really great activity that you can do more often while at home.

Finally, now is the time to catch up on sleep. As an adult, try to get at least eight hours of sleep per night. This will keep you healthy and give you energy. While this can be hard for many people, try to prioritize sleep as much as possible.

Mental Health

It is OK and normal to feel overwhelmed, confused, in denial, upset, angry, scared, and anxious. right now. There is no wrong or right way to feel. No one has experienced something like this pandemic in their lifetime, so it’s a traumatic experience for everyone. Staying inside is going to have a big toll on your mental health. It is important that you take steps to strengthen your mental health now as you adjust to this “new normal.

Courtney suggests finding a mental health professional if you don’t have a therapist already. There are a lot of therapists in Hoboken who are offering telehealth sessions. These sessions are through video and/or phone calls, so you don’t have to leave your home to get professional help.  Counselors are trained to help people through traumatic experiences such as this. They are also there to check-in on you, help you adjust to a new routine, monitor your mental health, and help you feel less anxious or depressed. 

When selecting a mental health professional, you want to double-check that they’re licensed in your state to help you. Look for LCSW, LPC, LMFT, PhD, or PsyD after their name. If you live with others, Courtney suggests getting creative with your telehealth sessions. She recommends putting on headphones and going into a bedroom or bathroom if you have to. You can also go and sit in your car or go for a walk.

Another one of Courtney’s suggestions is to practice meditation and to limit your news intake. This can be something new that you try as you find your new daily routine. Meditation will help you clear your mind and be more in tune with your breathing. It will remind your brain that you are safe and okay, and limiting + filtering your news intake can allow you to feel a little less overwhelmed by everything going on.

Finally, Courtney suggests to do some calming + familiar activities  — put a puzzle together, practice some beauty-related self-care, and simply open your blinds to let some light in!

Work

If you already worked from home before then you understand how to make some of these shifts.  For everyone else, however, this change is going to be extremely difficult. It is also likely that you are now working from home along with a partner, roommate, and/or kids. Courtney highly recommends creating an office space. There are some creative people out there in apartments who are using ironing boards and the like as desks. If possible, make an office set up with a comfortable chair and desk. Try to have this space near a window as well. Make it known to others in your home that when you are in your “office,” you should not be bothered. 

Also during this time, it is more important than ever to manage a strict work-life balance. When you are home all of the time, it can feel like you’re always working. It’s important to create working hours and non-working hours to create a sense of normalcy. 

See More: 10 Tips for Reducing Anxious Thoughts + Fear During COVID-19

Friends

Stay in touch with your friends now more than ever. Plan happy hours and parties through video chat. You can use Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, or FaceTime to hangout with friends. A lot of people are free to hang out, so this could be a great time to check-in with friends and have fun. Everyone is going through a hard time right now, but you can make these video chats fun by limiting what you discuss in relation to the news. 

For those who are used to chatting a lot with coworkers, try texting them or sending messages through your work chat. It’s important to keep up all of your relationships now through virtual distancing. We all need support through this time. The best thing to do for your mental health is not to become emotionally isolated. 

Keep Your Mind Busy

During this time, you want to keep your mind busy. Take breaks from the news and worrying about the coronavirus with positive distractions. Take this time to make your home more peaceful. Clean more often than you usually would, do the dishes, light some candles, work on a new project, and if needed order a few items online to make your space cozier. 

Remember, It is okay to feel anxious, scared, angry, or sad. There are a lot of businesses that have been forced to close, and people who are out of jobs. There are parents who are now required to work from home while also watching their children and teaching them at the same time. If you are a parent and your kids are home, please give yourself permission to not be a perfect parent 100% of the time. Things may seem overwhelming and hopeless right now. It is okay to feel whatever you are feeling. 

Rest assured, we will survive this and we have a very supportive community. Everyone is in this together. This is a temporary change. There is a lot of unknown, but you have survived changes and unknowns in your past. Think about how you got through those times. Sure it was difficult, but you adapted and adjusted your life to meet what came your way. You will get through this, and if you need a little extra help along the way then please ask for it. 

What are some things that you are focusing on in your new routine? Let us know in the comments!

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