Local experts share the latest information and resources on all things mental health.
Posted: April 13, 2020 by Meghann Darne, LCSW
Most of us are still reeling from the shock about what is going on in our communities and our world with the arrival of the COVID-19 virus. I have been noticing the parts within me that are becoming more active, the anxious one who wants to worry and read the news, the planner who wants to write down lists of things we can do or buy to feel better or the firefighter part who wants to eat and watch TV to try to avoid feeling the big feelings.
As I was noticing what was happening for me, I also recognized that many of my clients are noticing the same patterns in themselves.
• What other parts are you noticing?
• Do you have a part that is sad?
• Angry or frustrated?
• How do we take care of these parts of us?
• How can we notice them before they hijack us?
We must slow down and listen to the wisdom of our body. Remember story follows state … that is, the story I am telling myself (worry worry, worry) is reflective of the physical state I am in (mobilized, activated vagal nerve).
What does my body need to be reassured that we are ok?
Two things ….
• First name the emotion. I am feeling fearful.
• Second, breathe….I mean really breathe…..deeply. This is important because it activates the vagal nerve and sends calming signals to the brain.
Click here to learn more about PolyVagal Theory and why it is important.
In addition to noticing the parts that are being activated, I am noticing the parallels with the grief process: shock and disbelief, denial, anger, bargaining, depression. Recognizing that there is grief and loss in this whole thing. People are having to face that the plans they had are cancelled. That vacation, nope. That prom dance, nope. That family gathering, nope. It’s a lot of loss. We are creatures of connection, we thrive when we are together and yet in this we are apart. I am hearing of the creative ways that people are staying connected whether it’s FaceTime, phone calls, or meeting outside while practicing social distancing. These are all wonderful things to do.
Do you know someone who is alone? Reach out to them.
We all need to be leaders at this time and show up for one another.
How do I create space to take a break from the stress and find activities that restore me? Integrating mindfulness and bodywork is so important now more than ever. This gives us time to process.
• What is happening?
• How do I make sense of it?
I need to get into my Self, my Ventral Vagal Self. Only she can bring me the calmness, curiosity, compassion and clarity that I need right now. Out of the head and into the body.
So it’s back to the basics, slowing down. Getting comfortable with the “new normal” that we are all facing in different ways. Some of us have children who will be home for the next 6 weeks, maybe more. Some of us are service workers who are out of work now and are laid off. Some are worried about what this means for their retirement as the market plunges to new lows. Some are healthcare workers, who will bear much of the burden in the coming weeks. We must take care of our physical, emotional and spiritual selves and remember that we can only control how we spend our time and what we put in our bodies. This is a time to access our faith, to deepen our connection with ourselves, our fellow man and a power beyond ourselves.
Below are some resources to help you as you navigate this difficult time. I plan to send out a weekly blog each Wednesday in an effort to offer support and connection to all of you.
Tara Brach Guided Meditations click here to visit her websitehttps://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app
Headspace is offering free membership click here to learn more
Yogaia.com is also offering free services.
Here are resources for our community during the COVID-19 outbreak