Managing Stress and Anxiety During COVID-19

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It’s human to feel stress, especially when our day-to-day lives don’t look or feel the same as they used to. Sometimes stress can lead us to respond in unhelpful ways, like turning to food or alcohol for comfort.

And with Covid-19, stress and anxiety go hand-in-hand. So how do we manage it all? For starters, everyone needs to look after one’s own basic needs to stay mentally healthy in a stressful time.

While the anxiety many people are feeling about Covid-19 can be magnified in those who are most vulnerable to it (adults over 60 and those with underlying conditions) we are all feeling the impact that policies like shelter-in-place are having on our psyche.

On this episode of the podcast, I speak with Licensed Professional Counselor, author, and life coach Katherine Jansen-Byrkit. Katherine received her Masters in Public Health from the University of Washington in 1992 and spend over a decade in public health managing violence prevention and teen health programs.

Katherine published her first book, River to Ocean: Living in the Flow of Wakefulness last year. It reflects the human voyage of finding your way to an awakened self. Press play on the media player to listen to the conversation.

Date night included hard shell crabs and Manhattans.

Tips for Self-Care

  1. Eat healthy foods – make sure that you have food options that don’t weigh you down or cause you to gain weight during a period of inactivity.
  2. Stay physically active – build a daily exercise routine. You don’t need a well equipped home gym. Find some routines on the internet.
  3. Get regular sleep. Keep to your regular sleep routine and avoid over sleeping or not getting enough sleep.
  4. Create a sense of structure and routine in daily life while self-quarantining.
  5. Connect socially with friends and family while maintaining physical distance. Create special moments (like date night) to break up the monotony. Or cocktails with friends via video conferencing.

For more information on Katherine and her work, visit Innergy Counseling.

Overcoming Trauma

“P1088270.00_01_28_15.Still002” by SIM East Africa is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

When we think of trauma, we tend to contextualize it with major traumatic events like the death of a loved one or a violent event. But traumatic events can happen to us on a daily basis and we often fail to recognize when it is impacting us.

If you’ve experienced an extremely stressful or disturbing event that has left you feeling helpless and emotionally out of control, you may have been traumatized. Today’s show will offer ways to identify when we are experiencing trauma and how to effectively combat it. My guest, Franchesca Clemente, is a psychotherapist that shares how to identify when your body is reacting to trauma, and she offers some practical advice on how to work your way through it.

Some of the advice for dealing with stress and trauma discussed in this episode include:

  1. Breathing – breathing excercises can help calm yourself down by changing your focus and reducing your body’s physical reaction to stress.
  2. Exercise – avoid obsessively reliving the traumatic event. Partake in activities that keep your mind occupied like exercise. Take a walk or a run, read a book, or play with your kids.
  3. Practice self-care. Learn to self-sooth.

Music in this episode is “Sullen Faced” by Ketsa under creative commons non-commercial license.