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Tips to Help Teens Cope During COVID-19

When our world changes quickly and suddenly because of things like COVID-19, it is common to experience changes in our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Feelings of anxiety, fear, or worry are typical in stressful situations.

Typical reactions include:

  1. Feeling stressed or overwhelmed, frustrated or angry, worried or anxious
  2. Feeling restless, agitated, on ‘high alert’ or unable to calm down
  3. Being teary, sad, fatigued or tired, losing interest in usually enjoyable activities or finding it difficult to feel happy
  4. Worrying about going to public spaces, becoming unwell or contracting germs
  5. Constantly thinking about the situation, unable to move on or think about much else
  6. Experiencing physical symptoms such as increased fatigue or other uncomfortable sensations

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, so you should not expect any specific reaction. Still, take a few moments to talk with the teens in your life about how they are feeling and what may help them during this difficult time.

Remind them that all of these thoughts and feelings are common right now, and discuss simple self-care strategies that will help manage symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Here are a few tips for mental health and coping from teen Mental Health First Aid:

  1. Maintain a daily routine with consistent sleep, activity, and study patterns.
  2. Stay connected with others, and try to find moments of humor.
  3. Talk to people you feel comfortable with about your feelings or worries, then give yourself permission to stop worrying.
  4. Eat breakfast every morning, plus snacks and meals at regular times throughout the day.
  5. Limit coffee or energy drinks, as these will increase feelings of anxiety and make it difficult to relax.
  6. Look for patterns or be aware of situations that make you feel particularly worried or anxious. When you’re in these situations, try relaxation or distraction techniques or ask a family member or friend to help.
  7. Relieve times of high anxiety with physical activity; engage in regular aerobic exercise (e.g., walk, jog, yoga, dance).
  8. Limit the amount of time you spend talking about or watching/listening to news media or social media if you are finding information about the COVID-19 situation overwhelming or distressing.
  9. Do hobbies or activities that you enjoy, calm you down, or focus your mind and body. These could be arts and crafts, physical activity, listening to music, reading, journaling, watching TV or movies, or chatting with friends by phone, videoconference, or text.
  10. Understand that the people around you are probably also finding this situation stressful, and they might also be having difficulty controlling their emotions. Try to resolve conflict.
  11. If you continue to feel overwhelmed, out of control or unable to calm down after a period of weeks, seek help from a mental health professional.
  12. Take time for yourself.
  13. Be kind to yourself and each other. We’ll work through this together.

If feelings do not improve, consider reaching out to a mental health professional or seeking online therapy. With the right information and resources, we can #BeTheDifference for the teens in our lives during COVID-19.

Cape Coral Therapists are now offering Online Counseling with our highly qualified Therapist, who specializing in working with Teens. Give us a call and book your appointment for your teen. We will give 100 percent to help your teen get through this difficult time.

5 Strategies for Coping With Anxiety During the Pandemic

Beth Kurland, Ph.D.,

Practical tips to try when you are anxious.

I’ve been up in the middle of the night a lot lately. It’s given me the opportunity to work with my own anxiety and reflect on some of the things that can be most helpful at a time like this, with so many people struggling in personal and collective ways during this pandemic. I’ve been reflecting on the research about what we know about managing stress and coping with adversity. I’ve observed my own, and others’ ways of coping and what seems to be most helpful. Here are five coping strategies I would put on the top of my list.

1. Stay connectedin real-time and in your mind. Social connection and social support are foundational to our well-being. When we connect with others there is often a natural calming of the nervous system that we experience. Both feelings cared for, and caring about others, can help to release chemicals into our body which are soothing and calming. Thankfully our technology can be of help in keeping us connected during this pandemic. Ask yourself who might you connect with today. When you are not able to connect with someone at the moment, know that even just calling up memories of caring moments in your mind, can be a helpful strategy for cultivating positive emotions and calming in the body.

Try this: When I wake up feeling anxious in the middle of the night, I have found it helpful to imagine myself surrounded by the people in my life who love and care about me, and whom I love and care about. Call to mind a person you care about. Picture their face, their voice, a loving word or gesture they might offer you. Imagine being in their presence, as if you could feel their care and support right now. Let those feelings of care sink in and soothe any parts of you that might feel anxious.

2. Come back to your senses. Our five senses help to anchor us in the here and now. When we are anxious, we are often residing in the uncertain future. When we can bring ourselves back to the present moment and engage our senses directly, this can often help to calm the mind and body. For example, doing walking meditation and focusing on the sensations of the feet as they hit the ground can be—well, grounding. Pausing and listening to sounds around us can direct our minds to be here at this moment. Activities that engage the senses, for example, exercising, drawing or painting, cooking, listening to music, knitting, gardening, doing a puzzle, to name a few, can be helpful for many people during times of heightened anxiety. Even if the present moment is difficult, we can work with what is here. It is when our minds reside in the uncertain future, trying to solve problems that can’t be solved, that we experience even greater unease.

Try this: Make a list of what engages your senses and brings you into the present moment. Think about things that might take more time (such as an aromatic bath) as well as things that you could do on the fly (putting your hand on your heart and taking three breaths). Use this list often when you find yourself feeling anxious.

3. Identify what is within your sphere of influence and put your energy there. Anxiety naturally mobilizes the body’s fight or flight response and increases activation of our sympathetic nervous system. This, in combination with the tendency of our mind to ruminate on things we can’t control, can leave us in a state of overwhelm or helplessness. We feel over-aroused and we have nervous energy.  It can be helpful to identify where and how we can channel that energy into something active that we have some personal agency over, and that we care about. Be clear and intentional about what you can do today that you can influence, that feels nourishing or helpful for you.

Try this: Identify things within your sphere of influence including daily ways you can take care of yourself (from making your bed to going for a walk to preparing a healthy meal or listening to an inspirational podcast); how you might make a small but positive difference in someone’s life today; what you can tend to—your family, a garden, a project; what specific actions steps can you take today that might be positive for your health, your family, your house, your community or your future?

4. The shift from threat to challenge wherever possible. No question, the current circumstances we are facing are posing very real threats for so many people. But, when anxiety strikes, check-in and ask yourself if there is an imminent danger right here at this very moment. For many people, the sense of threat and danger lies in the “what if” brain, not the “what is here right now” brain. Name the challenges that are actually here right now, and then make a list of resources that you have to meet these challenges. These resources could be both inner ones (e.g., courage, patience, ability to think outside the box to find creative solutions,  commitment to what you care about, perseverance, self-compassion) and outer resources—the circles of supports you have within your family and friends, your community, the healthcare system, and other outside organizations and structures (e.g., workplace, religious communities, supportive agencies, mental health professionals).

Try this: Think about a time in the past when you faced adversity and ask yourself what most helped you get through that. What insights did you gain about your ability to handle challenges, and what strengths did you draw upon at that time that might help you now as you face new challenges?

5. Connect to your deepest values. Identify what values are most important to you during this time. Who do you most want to be in the face of fear and uncertainty? How can you show up today in a way that might reflect those values? You don’t have to get rid of fear or anxiety, but as you turn up the volume on what you care most about, what is most important to you, this can help dial down the intensity on the anxiety. For instance, I have found that when I spend time on meaningful endeavors (such as writing this blog), my anxiety doesn’t tend to take front and center stage.

It’s OK Not to Feel Grateful Right Now

If you can’t access gratitude right now, that’s ok. Feel what you feel.

There is a lot of pressure to feel grateful for health and well-being during this COVID-19 crisis. After all, so many others are in terrible pain. And while gratitude can increase a person’s level of satisfaction, help them see beyond the crisis, and train the mind to look for positives, the pressure to feel grateful can turn gratitude from a source of relief into a source self-torment. As I often tell my clients, gratitude is great, but not when it is guilt-induced.

What does guilt-induced gratitude sound like?

I should feel grateful…

  • Because others have it so much worse.
  • Because I have a roof over my head.
  • Because at least I don’t have cancer.
  • Because I have so much support.
  • Because I made it this far.

What happens when you try to force gratitude during a crisis?

A person who tries to guilt themselves into a grateful state by comparing their pain to others may unintentionally delegitimize their feelings and worsen rather than improve their mental health. They may feel responsible for feeling grateful rather than anxious, stuck, hurt, or overwhelmed. The attempt to feel grateful becomes a way to dismiss or reject uncomfortable feelings without honoring or addressing them. Gratitude becomes the weapon of choice against the self.

Signs That You are Misusing Gratitude

  • Your tone is accusatory; gratitude becomes a rebuke. You yell at yourself to feel grateful. You feel like you failed when you struggle to find that gratitude. You probably use the word “should” to tell yourself how to feel.
  • You decide you don’t deserve to feel pain. You compare your situation to others and conclude that your situation does not warrant painful feelings. Introducing gratitude becomes an exercise in ranking pain.
  • You try to replace your painful feelings with forced gratitude. Gratitude becomes a way to tell yourself that you’re not entitled to your feelings.

Here are some rules of thumb for using gratitude when the world and your life feels overwhelming:

  • Allow yourself to feel your feelings: The first rule of gratitude is to allow yourself to be in pain, even if things could be worse, even if others have it worse, even if you’ve felt worse in the past. Allow yourself to feel and move through those feelings instead of immediately throwing gratitude at it to make it go away. You cannot successfully shame yourself out of your feelings by telling yourself to feel grateful instead. Instead, gratitude can supplement those things and perhaps gently replace them over time, though not through force.
  • Validate your feelings: Before you invite in gratitude, validate your own feelings. Tell yourself that your feelings are OK. Notice them, notice where you feel them in your body, and welcome them. There can be no true gratitude without validation. If you try to force gratitude on yourself before this point, you may end up feeling bullied into feeling something different. It will backfire.
  • Make room for both difficult feelings and gratitude: Gently allow yourself to see if you feel the capacity for gratitude alongside your other difficult feelings. Perhaps that sounds like “I feel so overwhelmed. I also feel really grateful that I have support to help me through it.” Or perhaps it sounds like, “This is so hard. I’m glad I have the safety net to get me through this tough stretch while I figure things out.” Be curious about gratitude — try it out.
  • Try again later: Maybe in a moment of overwhelming hurt, you cannot access gratitude. That’s ok. When the crisis subsides and things feel calmer, try again to access it in a more healthy way.

By: Sarah Epstein MFT Between the Generations

Letitia Browne-James: Black Lives Matter and Mental Health: ” A Call for Healing, Advocacy, Allies, and Social Justice”

Dr. Letitia Browne-James is the Founder and Owner of Victorious Living Counseling & Consulting, LLC. She is a Board Certified Counselor, Licensed Mental Health Counselor (FL), Qualified Clinical Supervisor (FL), and Florida Behavioral Health Case Manager Supervisor with over ten years of experience working with adults, children, families, and couples in many clinical settings as a counselor and administrator. She is a Counselor Educator and Supervisor serving as a Core Faculty Member at Adler Graduate School in Minneapolis, MN, and Adjunct Faculty at Stetson University in Deland, Florida. She is a sought-after speaker and consultant for issues in mental health, teaching, clinical and administrative supervision, multiculturalism, social justice, advocacy, ethical practices, human trafficking, the intersections of mental and physical health issues, and many other topics such as Black Lives Matters.

If you would like to connect with Dr. Letitia Browne-James: 

https://www.facebook.com/letitia.brownejames

https://www.letitiabrownejames.com/

Email: drlbj@letitiabrownejames.com

Seneca Williams with guest Jaekilla Walls: Reinventing and Discovering Your New Career with Passion “5 Tips for a Fulfilling Career Makeover”

On our Latest Bringing Intimacy Back show, we had guests, Seneca Williams, LMHC is an online therapist and international professional coach, with an online practice established in 2015. As a mental health advocate, she volunteers her time to various mental health causes. She also speaks and writes, to promote mental health wellness for professionals and entrepreneurs. I the show, Seneca expressed to guest Jaekilla Walls, tips to improving herself and working toward building life skills to accomplish her goals of finding her passion. Jaekilla Walls, a 22 yr old young lady with many talents. Yet, like many of our Millennials, they are trying to find there way through life in 2020. We hope you, can relate to this show and get some tips to become your best self.

To Connect with Seneca Williams:

https://www.senecawilliams.com/

https://www.facebook.com/askcoachsen

https://www.instagram.com/askcoachsen/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/askcoachsen

https://twitter.com/askcoachsen

To Connect with Jaekilla Walls:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jaekilla-…

https://www.facebook.com/jae.walls 

Jaekilla_walls@yahoo.com

 

Peace and Meaning: Dr. David Hall

 

On our Latest Bringing Intimacy Back show, we had guests, Dr. David Hall. Dr. David Hall is a Registered Mental Health counselor that provides services to individual, group, and couples therapy. Dr. Hall also integrates faith as an important component of care. One of Dr. Hall’s most important passion is Faith-based counseling or called Transformational Prayer. During the podcast, David discussed the challenges that he faced in his younger years, his personal struggle within his marriage, and what healed is marriage and finding his calling in life and what his path has taught him, the pain throughout the process, and healing from it all. During these recent times of COVID-19 and the recent tragedy of George Floyd, David also expressed his thoughts on racism. It was an honor to have Dr. Dave Hall on the Bringing Intimacy Back show. 

To connect with David Hall:

dave@peaceandmeaning.com

www.peaceandmeaning.com

www.facebook.com/Peace-and-Meaning-Counseling-Services

 

Intimate Connections June Newsletter: I Think It’s About Time For Some LOVE In The Air…Do You?

Collective Grief During COVID-19: Dr.Kiley Hanish

 

On our Latest Bringing Intimacy Back show, we had guests, Dr. Kiley Hanish. Kiley Krekorian Hanish, OTD, OTR/L is a bereaved mother, doctor of occupational therapy, and founder of Return to Zero: H.O.P.E. Kiley and her husband Sean are creators of the Emmy-nominated film Return to Zero, starring Minnie Driver and Paul Adelstein. Based on their personal experience of their son Norbert, who was stillborn, this feature film is the first to tackle the taboo subject of stillbirth. Through Return to Zero, Kiley has found much healing. Her willingness to share her story and the most vulnerable life moments connected her to a community of families who have also endured the unimaginable death of a baby. Feeling less isolated in her grief, this experience inspired her to create Return to Zero: H.O.P.E. We would like to thank you for being a guest on the Bringing Intimacy Back Show.

To connect with Kiley:

Nonprofit https://rtzhope.org/kiley

Website https://www.drkileyhanish.com/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/kileyhanish/?hl=en

Watch the show on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4ZDtLIxCBA

239 Real Talk Virtual Event

Featuring Intimate Connections by Dr. April Newsletter May 2020