During this time of social distancing, people may experience anxiety, worry and fear related to their health, the health of others they care about, finances, school, the ability to care for oneself or others, and insecurity of being able to access items and services that they may need. Maybe you are feeling uncertain or frustrated with other people and or entities and worried about what the future will bring. You might be experiencing loneliness, boredom, symptoms of depression and an increased desire to use alcohol or other drugs to cope. People react differently to stressful situations and what may be stressful to one person may not be stressful to another.
What we want you to know is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Many people are struggling during this time and trying to cope with some of the same things you may be trying to cope with.
NTC and Peaceful Solutions Counseling want to remind you that we are here for you. Becky Pein, MS, LPC, and Lexie Strasser, MSE, LPC, SAC-IT are available Monday – Friday to provide mental health and substance abuse counseling. To read more about Becky and Lexie, visit http://www.peacefulsolutions.org/page/meet-the-staff
Currently we are offering phone sessions and video sessions. Video sessions are “Skype”-style using a secured site that protects your privacy while we meet virtually. It is easy to use – your therapist will simply email you a link and you will have access to your video session. Sessions are free to students currently enrolled in course credits through NTC.
You can contact us by calling our NTC office at 715.803.1608 and leaving a message or email us firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to help you set up an appointment. In the meantime here are some helpful tips to assist you in managing your stress and taking care of your mental health during this pandemic:
- Create a routine – wake up and go to bed at the same time each day, schedule time for homework, work, virtual socializing, etc. Set an alarm as if you were going to get up and get ready for school, work, etc. This will help things feel more “normal” and keep your body clock in rhythm.
- Limit consumption of alcohol and other substances – although you may feel that substances lower your stress, in the long-term, they tend to make anxiety worse.
- Exercise – any kind of exercise is beneficial. Now that the weather is warming up, go for a nice walk. This may be a good time to dust off your favorite HIIT workouts or yoga poses.
- Practice self-compassion – be kind and gentle with yourself
- Stay connected with friends and loved ones – Skype, Zoom, Facetime, Google Hangouts, etc. Virtual coffee dates, book clubs, support groups can also be a source of socializing and comfort. Be creative!
- Limit your exposure to news and media – While it is important to stay informed and up to date, too much information adds to our stress level. Try to watch the news only one time in a 24 hour period.
- Use self-soothing/grounding skills – deep breathing can help reduce signs of stress such as panic, heart racing, upset stomach and other symptoms. Deep breathing is breathing slowly and with intention – imagine a balloon filling up with air in your stomach. Try this technique: breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds, hold for four seconds, repeat until you feel a reduction in your stress signals. This is called four square breathing.
- Focus on what you CAN control – anxious thoughts will circle around what is outside of your control. Put effort into thinking about what is in your control and practicing those things. “I can control how I structure my day, who I reach out to, the self-care steps I take. I have access to these resources”, etc.