By Shonedra Redd
I hung up the phone with my sister earlier this week. All I could hear was the sheer disappointment in her voice as she explained that her college graduation was now non-existent. In addition, her restaurant management hours had been cut with unemployment as a viable option. An example, amongst many stories to be uttered, of how the coronavirus is “disturbing the peace”…a whirlwind, agitating and even demolishing lives like a wrecking ball and chain. Feeling hopeless and full of despair, many are scrambling to find answers to their essential questions, “How am I going to pay my bills,” “How do I balance working and teaching my children at home,” or “When will the worst become better?” In times such as these, I ask that you reflect on the words of the seasoned and wiser when they say, “BABY, Trouble Don’t Last Always.” However, while troubles seem insurmountable, may I suggest five practical ways to keep your mind and spirit at ease during the storm?
Prayer and Meditation—At this moment, our world has found itself in a state of chaos. My challenge is to manage those things which are in your control. Prayer and meditation are coping tools one can use to manage their anxiety and to re-focus on those things which are wholesome. Take 15 minutes a day to indulge in that much-needed quiet time that brings peace and relaxation to your mind, body, and soul. Other benefits include but are not limited to: stress reduction, improved health, and assisting in managing thoughts.
Exercise—Evidence shows that exercise reduces stress, depression, negative moods, and anxiety. Although we are currently practicing social distancing, you are encouraged to step outside for a little bit of sunshine and fresh air. Maybe, the walk or run you were putting off—can finally be completed! Do not gather in groups, but exercise alone or by keeping a six-foot distance from your exercise partner and others. If anything, exercise from the comforts of your own home. Continually, running back and forth to the refrigerator is not an OPTION.
Therapy—Prayer, Meditation, and Exercise are great ways to keep the mind sane. However, social isolation can place individuals in dark places when left idle to their own thoughts.
During this time, consider talking with a mental health professional. If you have access to benefits, many employers allow for free therapy sessions in their healthcare plan. If not, some clinicians work with patients on a sliding scale, which allows the fee per session to be variable, based on the patient’s income. Take advantage of your teletherapy sessions today!
Family Bonding—Build closer bonds with family members in your home. Parents, hug your children a little tighter, love on them more! Children, appreciate the sacrifices that your parents make daily to create a meaningful life for you and your family! For many, friends have turned into family. Pick up the phone and tell them how much you love them and care. Even consider hosting a virtual party on platforms such as Zoom or Google Meets to continue building connections. The owner of Family First Counseling, Megan R. Pickens, LPS-S says, “To take care of your mental health, make sure you are connecting with others using the telephone, apps that connect or social media.” You don’t have to be completely isolated. Complete isolation can lead to depression. When meaningful connections are made the world can restore itself to wholeness.Completing Unfinished Tasks—What is on your to-do list? Is it a book that needs to be read? Maybe, it is a house project in the bathroom or kitchen? It could be as simple as balancing your checkbook! Get IT done! If you have some extra time on your hands take advantage of using it wisely. Just the other day, I read a REALLY good statement that spoke to me and challenged how I am managing my own time in this season, “If you don’t come out of this quarantine with a new skill, a side hustle started, or more knowledge, you never lacked time; you lacked discipline.” Got Discipline? Dealing…right now many of us are dealing and surviving. While working to keep your head above water, self-care, and strive to implement a coping skill above that fits you best in your current circumstance. Again, trouble doesn’t last always. If you desire to be more like the seasoned and wise, you want something to show for it! Why not a better YOU!? Clients can get in touch with Megan R. Pickens, LPC-S for therapy sessions at www.ffctexas.com or they can call the office at 817-969-5114. Sessions are ONLY via video at this time and sessions with student interns are $25.