Recent events have posed challenges to stay connected to our support system and deal with our stressors in healthy ways. Most of our usual escapes, such as work, school and hobbies, have been interrupted, and in that void frustration and anxiety can flourish. It is important for our wellbeing that we combat patterns of unhealthy coping to avoid issues with substance abuse, depression and anxiety. Loneliness, isolation and anxiety are prevalent right now, but we can take healthy action to stay connected and practice ways to relax.
As we practice social distancing, face to face interaction through video calls is a good way to combat feelings of loneliness. FaceTime, Zoom and even just phone calls can help us stay connected. If you feel hesitant to reach out, remember that your call gives someone else the opportunity to connect as well. For those in recovery, a sponsor and peers in recovery need your interaction to work the program.
I encourage you to break the pattern of isolation and reach out. It’s an important first step to walking out of our struggles.
During this time of increased stress, interventions that help us relax are very useful. When we connect to the present moment, we can better handle challenges in our life, as well as, find happiness that we may have otherwise overlooked. How much time and energy do you spend focused on the past and the future at the expense of the moment? We can easily become over burdened with the weight of the past and future and this can cause us to become stuck. Meditation and mindfulness techniques are useful in combatting worry and fear of the unknown.
Connecting to the moment through our senses is a good way to redirect our mind to the present and away from the past or worries about the future.
Find a place to sit away from distractions like cell phones, tv and other people and begin with deep, slow breathing.
The next step is to be intentional with your senses.
- Focus on the feeling of being supported by a chair, focus on your feet on the ground. What else do you feel? The sun? A breeze? Focus on smells next. A candle perhaps, maybe flowers in the yard. Be intentional with your sense of hearing. You may hear birds or a car in the distance.
- What do you see? Remember to be intentional with your senses to redirect yourself to the present moment. If worrisome thoughts occur, allow them to come and return to your senses without trying to force thoughts away. Like anything we learn, this technique takes practice. However, it is a very useful way to relax deeply and be present and connected to our daily life. This allows us to use our time and energy productively, free from anxiety.
Most importantly, through self-care actions, we can allow for grace and self- compassion during this challenging time. We need to give ourselves the recognition of the unique situation we are currently in and grant ourselves compassion.
If you are interested in setting up a session with Jimmy Rogers, LPC, either via telehealth or in person, call Watershed Counseling Associates at 601-362-7020.