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Covid-19 Advice From a Psychotherapist’s Perspective

How to stay on top of the Coronavirus outbreak.

As a psychotherapist I work with people from all different walks of life. Their healing is my ever growing compassion and understanding. During the stressful Covid-19 outbreak my work has changed from deep core work to supporting my clients with their ever building anxiety. Without disclosing details about my clients, I see several clients who are especially affected by the outbreak. I have a number of first responders in my practice who literally are sacrificing their lives to help others. They work, come home, and isolate themselves till they go to work again. I see some single mothers, who like most single mothers, have been particularly affected by the virus for a whole set of reasons. I also have worked with a few people with pre-existing medical conditions, and others who are dealing with uncertainty. Everyone’s perseverance is tested, and many people need extra support to get through this pandemic. Therefore I created a list of suggestions that might help you. I divided it in 4 parts for different populations, although most of the advice can be used by everyone.

FIRST RESPONDERS

First a foremost thank you all for what you do, and for the sacrifices you make for everyone’s wellbeing. You are our true heroes.

1. Please take the Covid-19 virus very seriously. Always wear appropriate protective attire. Of course you know this, but sometimes after the first shock has diminished unconscious mistakes can be made, especially if you are tired and overworked.

2. If your employer only supplies one mask for several days, please hang it outside somewhere dry when you are not working.

3. When you get a new mask put the “old” one in a paper bag, close it well and leave it for at least three days before you are using it again.

4. When patients become difficult because they are scared (we all have different ways to deal with stress/fear), tell them you understand, and share with them that you are afraid too.

5. Be gentle with yourself during this time of stress and being overworked. Know that you are doing your best, and do not beat yourself up. Instead stay kind and understanding to yourself.

6. When you come home, put your work clothes in the washing machine, and take a shower including washing your hair.

7. If you have to food shop after your shift, to protect others, it would be better if you do this after showering and changing clothes. Though wear a mask and gloves.

8. If you find yourself alone after a days of work, your fears and sorrow can potentially take over. So please follow #28.

9. Please read all the general points below.

SINGLE MOTHERS.

Thank you for being brave, and working hard to make sure your children are growing into healthy and happy adults. A lot is resting on your shoulders. In the US alone 1 of every 4 children live with a single parent of which 80% are single mothers, and many live in poverty (45%).

10. Many single mothers are living an isolated life due to working several jobs to make ends meet. But right now it is more important than ever to create a community for support. Make sure you have a network of people around you who can jump in when needed. There are many Facebook and Twitter groups for single mothers to connect in general. There is also a new free social media network named Persisters , which is set up specifically for single mothers to find one another, and to create mutual support in their own area. Support includes sharing recycled children’s items and resources, finding emotional support and other helpful features.

11. When you have lost your job, make sure you apply for government funding immediately because it takes them quite some time to process all the requests. Here is a link that might help you: https://labor.ny.gov/ui/cares-act.shtm.

12. Since being in public is unsafe health wise, it probably will be better to have your groceries delivered to your house by a home delivery service, or by family members or friends (do not let them in if they are not socially distancing).

13. Given you responsibilities as a single mother, you cannot afford to get sick. So you should probably be as careful as people with pre-existing medical conditions.

14. There are many free schooling sites to support you at home with your kids. Here is one link: https://kidsactivitiesblog.com/135609/list-of-education-companies-offering-free-subscriptions/?fbclid=IwAR3rZPnP4dg-y2iXjiM3MV57X8qwiGZeKEa7DivJvP5aYZIO-oAuANEvsCY

15. Here are some ideas of what you can do with the kids: https://entertainkidsonadime.com/2020/03/13/100-activities-to-do-at-home-during-school-closures/?fbclid=IwAR3wASs7maHFHgO3s_Rmul8qmRdIztEFK1R1nktbfXehohrquEiCU8xpuFQ

16. Teach your children to stay 6 feet from others at all times.

17. When you are experiencing intense anxiety please follow #28

18. Please read all the general points listed below.

PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITIONS

This time might be extra scary for you. Make sure you have adequate support physically and emotionally. It is ok to ask!

19. Isolate, isolate, isolate.

20. Have your food shoppings delivered to your home.

21. Wipe everything down with disinfectant wipes, and/or wash what you can wash.

22. Make sure your doctor is aware of your conditions.

23. Make a plan with family members and/or friends how to best take care of you.

24. If you start to get a fever or shortness of breath, contact your doctor immediately. If it is a weekend or at night, call the Emergency Room of your hospital in advance, before you show up.

25. If you are really sick call 911.

26. When you are experiencing anxiety follow #28

27. Please read all the general points below.

GENERAL POINTS FOR EVERYONE

Thank you all for being considerate to everyone else by keeping 6 feet away, wearing a face mask, gloves, and staying at home when you can, and especially when you feel sick. This is a hard time for everyone and we need each other to get through.

28. When you are dealing with fear, anxiety, and/or sadness, follow these steps

a. Try to embrace the emotions. Know it is normal to feel anxious right now, and accept/understand that we are all going through a really rough time. So be kind, loving, compassionate to your feelings. Spend some time on doing embracing your emotions. When we kindly invite feelings they tend to get less over time.

b. When the emotions are getting less intense, you can release them by stating: “I clear and release my feelings (of such and such).” You should repeat this many times out loud or internally, till you actually feel them shifting.

c. Then choose different thoughts. Think about something positive in your life, or think about a solution, or start doing something fun.

29. Minimize news intake, but stay informed. Do not watch the news before you go to sleep!

30. When you watch TV, choose uplifting shows.

31. Try not to have more than 2 or 3 hours of screen time a day.

32. Start your day with a meditation. For beginners, YouTube provides many free guided meditation.

33. Be the observer of your thoughts, and carefully choose what you think. Choose upbeat thoughts.

34. Smile because it will release the happy chemicals from your brain.

35. Be kind and loving to yourself and everyone else.

36. Be inclusive, check in with one another.

37. Set up regular video calls with people you care for, and keep it positive, light, and fun.

38. Eat a wholesome diet to keep your body strong and resilient.

39. Get some exercise and fresh air every day. Stay 6 feet apart.

40. Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep.

41. Branch out in interests. Coursera and Edx (.org) are two organizations where you can take classes from major universities for free.

42. Play music and dance. Keep it fun and light.

43. Pick up a hobby you were already curious about.

44. Keep your house neat and clean.

45. Take showers regularly and get dressed at a reasonable time.

46. Read the books that have been sitting on your nightstand for years. 😉

47. Ask larger questions about your life by connecting with the very center/core of you, to deeply listen to what is authentically true for you.

48. Start planning for when this is all over.

49. If you are alone, grab a pillow to hug at night.

50. Visualize negative thoughts disappearing as clouds on a blue sky. Choose something positive.

51. Before you go to sleep think about 5 things that you are grateful for.

52. Find help if you need to talk. Video counseling works. I have been working through video counseling for years with people from all over the world. It can be quite effective.

53. Connect with your form of spirituality daily.

54. Stay Healthy!

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