While COVID-19 continues to disrupt life around us, it is important to keep focusing on the emotional wellness of our community. Now more than ever, it’s important to stay connected and create helpful ways to care for yourself and your loved ones — when it matters most!

Today, we are covering 10 simple things you can do to calm the chaos of this time. Staying emotionally well is so important, and these tips  will help you make it manageable and make it a priority.

  • Tune-in to your emotions – Accept that things are challenging. The perspective we have of our lives and the world around us can often take a nosedive and get stuck in a rut or in the negative. Try to lighten the mood and laugh a little. Use a glass-half-full mentality, look for the silver lining and watch your mindset shift for the better.
  • Think happy – Take time to think about the things that make you happy. Look through old photos, reminisce about fond memories. Happy thoughts will naturally lead to happier emotions.
  • Have Gratitude – The practice of daily gratitude will quickly shift your perspective onto what is going well in your world and lead you to better appreciate what you have in your life. This is an instant game changer! Bonus: write down what you are thankful for each day. It can be small things—sometimes those mean more.
  • Give thanks. Expressing appreciation to others will lift your own spirits. Thank the people in your life and your community. Whether that is sending thank you notes, calling loved ones, or thanking essential workers and medical staff who are working to keep us all safe.
  • Practice Mindfulness: Almost everyone knows what it is like to worry about things. Sometimes it can be overwhelming—your mind becomes a jumble of thoughts and questions. Meditation can help quiet your mind and put a stop to the voice-over or commentary that sometimes threatens to take over. People have meditated for centuries because of its effectiveness in relaxing and settling the mind. After a few minutes of meditation, you will most likely feel more relaxed. Work your way up to a 20-minute meditation session in the morning and another 20-minute session at night; you will notice the calming effects. You can also try a meditation app like Calm or Headspace to guide you through the process.
  • Laugh. Tell a joke. Watch a funny movie. Schedule time to reconnect with friends via video conference and laugh about old times. Laughter really is great medicine.
  • Turn off the news. Get your update, then get out.  While it is important to stay informed and up to date, sometimes it can be too much and turn into a negative influence.  Teach yourself to stop worrying about things you have no control over. Focus instead on things you can influence. You will feel less stressed as a result.
  • Take a break. Walk away for a quick refresh. During the day, take time to get away from distractions. Even 15 minutes of movement, fresh air and disconnecting from technology can improve your mood and productivity.
  • Breathe! A few deep breaths can support your body’s relaxation response. This simple technique helps you relax. All you have to do is breathe in deeply, hold your breath for a few seconds, and exhale slowly. Repeat this process a few times and you will feel calmer. Remind yourself to do this technique a few times each day.
  • Get professional help: We are all adjusting to a new “normal” and change can be hard. Therapy helps us stay healthy, stable, and grounded, both emotionally and mentally. In times of anxiety, stress and uncertainty, therapy is a source of support and a safe space to process our experiences. Luckily, online therapy is available, and while the online therapy experience may feel different and new, we encourage you to give it a try. Online therapy is effective, trusted, and can allow ongoing connection and support during this time.

Coping with COVID is an 8-part series from local therapists at TherapWorks.  You can learn more about the series at mytherapyworks.com/togo.

Maaliea Wilbur is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Executive Director of TherapyWorks. With 10+ years of experience, Maaliea’s broad-level expertise allows her to successfully support kids, teens, adults, couples and families. Maaliea is passionate about providing top-notch care as a trusted resource in her community. .  For more information visit www.mytherapyworks.com.

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