There’s a lot to be upset about right now. Understandably so. Our lives are disrupted at the minimum, and for others life has been ripped wide open with tragedy. All of us are affected by this and, collectively, we are experiencing the trauma and grief of this situation. It’s important to acknowledge the difficulty of the times and to allow ourselves to feel the actual feelings that we’re having. At the same time, it’s also helpful to not allow ourselves to be swallowed up by despair. There are strategies that can help us all weather this storm. For this article, we asked some of our providers for advice on how to stay positive and be well during this incredibly difficult period.
Kristina Mullen, MPAS, PA-C, who is based in Charlotte, shared a practice that she does herself:
This is a practice that can be done always, but one that is especially during more stressful times. For 5-10 minutes go to a space where you won’t be interrupted and eliminate background noises as much as you can. If you can’t minimize external space, then try listening to headphones with a simple, soothing sound, like rainfall or chanting. Sites like Noisli, Insight Meditation and MyNoise have good options.
Close your eyes. Dedicate a few minutes out of your day to reflect on happy moments in your life. Call to mind any recent or past positive memories and experiences and allow yourself to feel the good feelings that come with that. Then spend some time thinking about somewhere you enjoy being—somewhere that makes you feel calm and warm inside. Vision and “be” in that place for several minutes. This is an important practice that can help refresh the mind and calm your system.
Raleigh provider, Kerry Mackey, PA-C, offered this advice:
I have already began to experience some of the effects that these troublesome times have had on some of my patients. I want people to know that the worries that they have aren’t overboard or misappropriated. They are understandable! Quarantine can truly have psychological implications not only for those with pre-existing mental health issues, but even for people that were previously or a mentally fit and stable state.
Fortunately, there are several ways that we can combat the psychological stressors we may encounter during this time:
Maintaining your daily regimen. Continue to get up and get dressed even while staying at home. Routine helps provide a sense of stability and normalization during taxing situations.
Use this time to take care of your mental health state and body though deep breathing exercises, creating better eating habits since the time may exist to do so, mindful meditation, and as many indoor exercises as you can do.
Do not feed into the rumors of what people speculate may be happening but utilize proper resources to keep educated on the advancements of the coronavirus.
Remember un día a la vez! Take it one day at a time. We can’t control every aspect of our lives, but we can make the most out of what we have in front of us. When we do our part, however small, to raise awareness and lend to the effort of eradicating this issue we will feel a sense of dignity and reward!
Daja Mayner, LCSW, based in Charlotte, gave this guidance:
I have two nuggets of advice to offer. I want to encourage people to use the increased time at home to explore other interests or hobbies they have never “had time” to pick or maintain before. Additionally, as I’ve told my current patients, consider the stressors from the pandemic as yet another opportunity to apply and practice the skills you are building and fine-tuning in treatment. If you are not currently engaged in mindcare treatment, then consider other skills that you are learning in your life, especially emotional, psychological, behavioral and spiritual skills or adjustments that you are learning or would like to improve. Now is a great time to reconnect with those and continue practicing and improving.
Be well, everyone! Remember that the only certainty is change. The world is changing right now, and it will change again. We will not be in this state forever. Take good care of yourselves and each other as we weather this storm.
Kerry Mackey, PA-C believes in the transformative power of peace of mind. Repeatedly in his work he sees how mental health stability eases other health issues and life stressors. Focusing on building trust and being a comforting presence for his patients, Mr. Mackey collaborates with them to realize desirable, attainable goals that can be easily maintained through holistic care plans. More info at mindpathcare.com/staff/kerry-mackey-pa-c/.
Growing up, Daja Mayner, LCSW felt that her superpower was being trusted as a person’s safe space. As a licensed clinical social worker, she is proud to now have the knowledge and competency to empower and assist clients in discovering their own superpowers. Daja hopes to challenge patients to humanize themselves by encouraging them to extend grace, believe in their abilities, and view therapy as another tool to overcome what may be the most difficult time in their lives. More info at mindpathcare.com/staff/daja-mayner-msw-lcsw/.
Kristina Mullen, MPAS, PA-C gained a strong passion for her work beginning with her medical career as a hospital volunteer at the age of 14. She has a love of learning and, while she works particularly well with children and young adults, she can tailor her treatment plan to almost anyone of any age. Mullen has said that helping others turn challenging times into positive, successful, times is what keeps her motivated. More info at mindpathcare.com/staff/kristina-mullen-mpas-pa-c/.