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Thriving, Not Just Surviving in Times of Social Distancing

Welcome to my blog, I am Dr. Kristen Kvamme, a Psychologist and Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. As a professional in my field I am learning a lot about the impact of COVID-19 has had on our society. In the past few weeks I have been working with my clients to increase their emotional management and reduce distressing symptoms. In the following days I will be continuing this discussion around mental health care and how we can all make the best of this difficult situation.


Part of continuing good self-care is checking in on your mental health. If you are considering starting therapy, more therapists than ever are providing online video sessions via HIPPA compliant platforms. Health care providers across the board offer this service, so be sure to ask your providers what options are available to you.

 

"In times of such uncertainty and chaos it is important to implement structure in your day."

 

Start by getting up at the same time every day, getting dressed and ready for the day as you would if you were leaving the house. We mentally associate wearing our comfy clothes with relaxation and down time, whereas clothes that appear more pulled together give one a feeling of intention and purpose. In these times of isolation and schedule modifications it is essential to keep the feeling of productivity and meaning in the day. Lack of intention can lead to feeling hopeless. Having a vision and goals for the day or the week can boost feelings of purpose, which lead to positive thinking. In such unusual times these behaviors allow one to experience some level of normalcy.


Hopelessness combined with the helplessness many of us are experiencing can have a catastrophic effect on mental health symptoms. We all need a sense of control at this time, a feeling that we can impact some of the outcomes in our life. This is part of the stockpiling behaviors we are seeing everywhere, it is just one aspect that gives a sense of security in these otherwise uncertain times. Having a structured routine, and continuing to practice good self-care is integral to keeping a feeling of well-being.


You will also benefit from identifying aspects of your life that you may have had to give up or modify in light of the current global situation. For example, if your gym has closed you are missing not only those workouts, but the social interaction of seeing other people. Many recreational facilities have gone online with their classes, seeing familiar faces and hearing the voice of your favorite instructor eases the disparity we are experiencing from our pre-COVID-19 lives. Not able to meet up with friends? Schedule virtual coffee dates, and show up as you would have had you left the house to meet at your local Starbucks. Continue to create occasions within your own home to break up the monotony. Google your favorite recipe from your local restaurant and make a copy cat version at home, with family members dressing according to the occasion.


Try this near-version recipe from Olive Garden!





Please share your ideas and how you are thriving during this time below!


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