Yes, now Is a good time to start therapy, in case you were wondering. While you’re staying home, sheltering in place, quarantined, staying safe from COVID-19 coronavirus you have more time available. Negative thoughts seem to pop up more. As a result of the lack of variety, lack of social events, and boredom, it’s hard to distract from those negative thoughts. Therefore, as a therapist, I recommend dealing with them. I recommend that you start therapy now.
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Coping Skills or Processing
In therapy you can focus on coping skills or processing. I recommend improving coping skills no matter what’s going on in your life. On the other hand, processing tends to go deep into the root causes and work on healing what triggered mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, in the first place. Processing can be very emotional and open you up in surprising ways. For these reasons, it’s important to feel strong and ready before you start processing.
Coping skills can help you when your train of thought runs off the rails, when your thoughts get out of control. A solution to this problem is coping skills for unhealthy ways of thinking. One method is thought stopping. Another method is to learn to recognize types of negative thinking, label them and stop them. Yet another method is distraction. I encourage people to work on a list of 100 distracting activities and post it where you will see it. It will take some time to get to 100! If you can stop your thoughts in their tracks and start thinking about something else, it can help with mood and energy.
Screening For Resilience And Support Before Processing
Before we start processing, I screen to make sure you feel resilient and have a support system. Your supports don’t have to be there in your home. They can be online. It is enough to connect by video, phone, text or social media. If you feel resilient enough and have support, if you are ready and willing, then now is a good time to process negative experiences and difficult issues.
Just as I would under non-stay-at-home circumstances, I recommend getting good sleep, drinking plenty of non-alcoholic fluids, getting exercise, eating healthy food, moderation with sugar, alcohol and recreationals.
Eliminate Caffeine To Reduce Anxiety
Another thing you can do to reduce anxiety is eliminate caffeine. Surprisingly, this can make a significant difference and reduce feeling anxious or on edge. Sources of caffeine include coffee, energy drinks, non-herbal tea, caffeinated carbonated beverages and, sadly, chocolate. I’ve done therapy with construction workers and landscapers who had to give up caffeine. Instead, for their coffee breaks, they had a chamomile tea at 7-11.
Social Contact Daily
Another thing that helps is to balance alone time with social time. If you’re an extreme extrovert, build in a Lot of social time. If you’re an extreme introvert, you may not need much social time at all. In general, I’m hearing people say it helps to be in touch with friends and family every day. If you’re still working, it seems to improve coordination, productivity and work product to be in touch with co-workers daily. Make sure to build social time into your day. If that means texts, phone calls, or video calls, make them happen! It can be fun to have a meal or beverage or even play a board game during a video call. Many people arrange coffee chats and happy hours to meet that need for time with friends.
I’ll write more about self-care. Just remember that it’s important to monitor your needs and meet your needs on a daily basis.
Find A Therapist
If you’re not doing well, please get help. Or if you’re ok and want to grow and make changes in your life, therapy’s great for that too. I specialize in helping people with anxiety and processing all kinds of painful experiences from the past. I use Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Inner Child and Parts work, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and a variety of other approaches to help people. I serve California, Colorado, English speaking expats, digital nomads, those who are location independent and travelers in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. If I seem like someone you might like to do therapy with, click the orange SCHEDULE botton on my website https://letsdealwithit.com and schedule yourself for a free 20-minute consultation or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you.