The Importance of Self Care During Turbulent Times
Updated: Nov 4, 2022
We were so honored to have Judith Malinowski, PhD, clinical psychologist as a guest on our Brainthropology podcast for our two-part series on anxiety and depression. In this short video focused on being kind to your mind during the pandemic, several coping strategies were discussed to help alleviate anxiety and depression that we feel are important to share.
The video discussed the psychological ramifications stress has on our body when it experiences uncertainty. As human beings, we are wired to react with fear when we experience a situation that doesn’t have clear boundaries. Uncertainty can lead to a state of confusion that can cause our brain to shut down. This prevents us from accessing the part of our brain that is responsible for problem-solving. During uncertain times it is a basic human need to stay connected to one another, whether during a pandemic or not. It is important to connect with people not only by text, but to hear each other's voices and see their faces.
Although the video was created to address the pandemic, it’s important to know that these strategies can be used during any situation that may cause stress. During turbulent times it is important to take care of yourself. Anytime there are unknowns in life, it’s typical to have human reactions such as becoming anxious, fearful, and sometimes even becoming depressed.
An important strategy to use when you are feeling anxious or depressed is to KEEP MOVING! Make a conscious effort to exercise! Obviously before starting any exercise regime consult your physician to ensure it is appropriate and safe. Here are some simple ideas:
go for a walk
ride a bike
Lift weights or engage in strength training
Find a youtube video exercise class
Many times when we are in a state of anxiety we become paralyzed. Finding ways to stay in motion is very important to address this state. It’s important to stay focused on what you do have control over instead of what you do not. We have control over our reactions to situations. The video discussed the equation Event + Response = Outcome. As we have control over our responses we can directly affect the outcome of any situation. Listed below are some suggestions to help facilitate a positive response to uncertain times.
Limit your exposure to the media to avoid being overwhelmed.
Be conscious of what your kids are exposed to, and help them manage their anxiety. You cannot help others if you don’t help yourself first.
If you do feel overwhelmed, JUST BREATHE! The 3,4,5 breathing technique will help you focus. Breathe in for 3 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and exhale for 5 seconds.
Engage in activities that give your brain a break such as hobbies like puzzles, games, or books.
It is important to understand that fear is not a coping strategy, it will only keep you from accessing the parts of your brain that will give you important options, choices and emotional control. Every crisis that our body experiences causes change to occur. It is up to us to control how we respond to a situation thereby affecting the outcome. Our peace of mind is directly related to our ability to accept uncertainty for what it is.
Mental Health Resources:
PHQ9 Depression Questionnaire
GAD Anxiety Questionnaire
NAMI- National Association of Mental Illness
Power of Breath Handout
Insight Timer, Calm, Headspace
Screenagers Movie: https://www.screenagersmovie.com/
The Social Dilemma Movie https://www.thesocialdilemma.com/
Anxiety and Phobia Workbook https://amzn.to/3UjSUH6
Stress Ball https://amzn.to/3BNSNfD
Pill bottle with timer cap: https://amzn.to/3RTNwsD
SAD Light https://amzn.to/3LkpRPm
Brainthropology Blog About Today’s Topic: https://www.brainthropology.com/post/the-importance-of-self-care-during-turbulent-times