Coping with COVID-19: A Therapist’s Suggestions

In less than a week our lives have been turned upside down. We are making sacrifices for the greater good that have changed our habits, families, and overall socialization. Therapists, doctors, teachers, and more have rapidly been learning technology to provide online services. First responders have been running towards the virus, in the absence of adequate medical supplies. Stress levels are high across ages, nationalities, and cultures. Needless to say this has impacted our mental health in unprecedented ways.

After offering many sessions this week to clients via telehealth platforms, I’ve rapidly learned which strategies seem to be helpful during these uncertain times. It’s been a humbling opportunity to practice being more human with my clients, as no one truly knows where this path is leading us. Here are some of the suggestions that may be of some use during this period of upheaval and fear:

  1. Develop a schedule/routine and be prepared to balance that with flexibility: Abundant periods of unstructured time can sometimes lead to increased anxiety and low mood. This doesn’t mean you have to plan every hour, it just encourages you to have a regular time you wake up, eat, and go to sleep everyday. Stick with the basics and add if needed. Try to be flexible if last minute demands arise, especially for parents.

Lastly, remember that this too shall pass. We’re figuring this out as we go amidst a lot of uncertainty and hardship AND we can do really hard things. We’re a resilient species and this is important to remember at a time when fear and true threat for our most vulnerable is high. If you’re struggling with your mental health right now, please reach out to a qualified professional. We’re here to help and available via telehealth during this challenging time.

Warmly,

Brooke

Psychotherapist I Psychiatric ER Clinician. Intrigued by the intersection of physical, psychological, and spiritual health. @brooke_licsw Twitter

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