Keep Calm, Be Proactive, and Carry On

WOW! Our present situation with Covid-19 is like nothing we have ever experienced. We are abruptly trying to adjust to unprecedented closings of activities, schools, and organizations. Some are crying, “APOCALYPSE!” Others are crying, “CONSPIRACY!” And everything in between and beyond. Okay, so first…take a breath.

Really. Go ahead. Stop. Breathe. Slow down. Breathe. Ready?

I want to offer two things to you in this post: 1. Reassurance of measures I am taking at my office to make sure it continues to be a safe place for my clients to share their struggles and burdens, find comfort, and receive helpful guidance for facing life with calm strength (These are listed at the end of this post). 2. Recommendations for any and all on how to be a real part of the solution to our global challenge.


How to be part of the solution:

  1. Make calm, rational, considered decisions. Keep your cool. This is always the right thing – regardless of whether you are facing a “normal” day, moving through a difficult situation or season in your life, or living in the midst of a global storm of drastic change, rising anxiety, and toilet paper hoarding mania. Fear is a reckless driver. So often, when we make reactive fear-driven choices to prevent bad things from happening, we just increase the likelihood of bad things happening. Let me say that again. So often, when we make reactive fear-driven choices to prevent bad things from happening, we just increase the likelihood of bad things happening. Take time regularly to count your blessings, enjoy the beauty around you, and offer words of kindness and encouragement to the people in your life. Don’t start making extreme financial decisions. Those will almost certainly add to the overall volatility of the economy and collective mood. Don’t go on reactive shopping binges in a fearful quest to get ahead of the apparent shortage of toilet paper, bottled water, and the like. Get what you need. Keep in touch with people you love and who contribute to your well-being. Share stories of good things happening. If you find yourself getting hit with a rising wave of anxiety, take a few moments to simply breathe and relax your body. Then try the “5-4-3-2-1” technique: Look around and identify five distinct colors with your eyes – take a moment to appreciate the uniqueness of each. With your hands, feel four different textures around you. Then get as quiet and still as you can, and listen for three distinct sounds with your ears. Next, try to notice two different odors. This one may be tough, if you’ve already been in one place for any length of time. Don’t worry about it, if your nose doesn’t notice any particular smells. Finally, check whether you detect a taste in your mouth. Feel free to take a sip of coffee, pop in a piece of gum or candy, or something like that. Again, no biggie if you don’t really taste anything right now. Enjoy your renewed sense of calm sanity and use that peaceful strength to make good solid choices throughout your day.
  2. Please take the Covid-19 situation seriously. I am neither an epidemiologist nor a physician. I am a mental health practitioner. And if you are one of the folks currently dismissing this new viral outbreak as either “nothing much worse than the flu” or as some sort of contrived ploy created by some political entity or other group that is nothing more than a way to manipulate people on a mass scale, I am asking you to take just a bit of time to look at the actual information readily available. The following resource has been extremely helpful to me in understanding why the World Health Organization, the US Center for Disease Control, and countless authorities around the globe have labeled this a “pandemic,” and are calling for all of us to take it seriously: Worldometers Coronavirus Mortality Rate. In particular, read the insightful explanation after the raw numbers are listed in the portion near the bottom (unfortunately) of the page. And before you decide your age and general health mean you don’t need to be concerned with this thing, please consider the particular vulnerability of the older population and those with existing health conditions such as autoimmune disorders. Basically, consider people like my wife (autoimmune disorder) and many of our parents (aging population). If my teenage son or I get sick with this thing, we will almost certainly be just fine. Our parents might face a very serious struggle. My wife would be in a dire situation. And countless others are in these groups.
  3. Practice healthy self-care by getting enough rest, good food, water, exercise, and time for both relaxation and recreation. Of course, we all have responsibilities to face with jobs, families, etc. And the landscape of both our responsibilities and resources may be changing daily right now. But if we want to give our best to the people and responsibilities in our lives, we must start from a foundation of wellness. Taking care of our own bodies, minds, and spirits is essential to doing everything else well – especially during times of challenge and uncertainty. Take good care of you!
  4. Take just a bit of extra time and effort throughout your day to help prevent the spread of this virus. Please tell me you already wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. Using hand sanitizer at relevant points throughout the day doesn’t really disrupt my life. Wiping frequently touched points in my vehicle with disinfectant once or twice a day doesn’t really take that much time or effort. And regularly cleaning my phone and remote controls is probably something I needed to up in my game anyway.
  5. Follow the guidelines given by our various authorities with a cooperative and cheerful spirit. I don’t have to agree with the decisions made by various levels of government. I don’t have to like the changing policies at my job. And I certainly don’t have to enjoy the cancellation of various events and opportunities. But I don’t have to grumble, either. I don’t have to insist on being the rebel, and going ahead with the way I want things to be. If we are all willing to face this challenge with a spirit of humility, teamwork, encouragement, and good cheer, we will be much stronger and healthier across the globe. WE GOT THIS!

Measures I am taking at my office:

  1. Throughout the day, I am cleaning the areas in the waiting room, restroom, and my office that are frequently touched. I’m using Clorox wipes.
  2. I am personally using hand sanitizer before and after each of my client sessions, and keeping the dispenser just inside my office door for convenience to my clients.
  3. There is a relatively low volume of people who enter my office building. The only businesses in my building are a psychology practice of two professionals and a secretary, and three solo counselors – myself included. Add our collective clients to that, and you just don’t get large numbers of people entering our building each day. And it means the majority of those people (our clients) come in predictable time waves that allow us the opportunity to clean and disinfect with great effectiveness.
  4. As of moments before posting this, my professional licensing board announced they are temporarily rescinding the various limitations and guidelines on “teletherapy.” Simply put, this means I can utilize phone calls, FaceTime, etc. to supplement or replace in-office therapy sessions, as needed. So until the situation has passed, anyone needing my professional help, but concerned about coming to my office, has the option of scheduling sessions to be conducted by phone. I am certainly happy to utilize phone sessions instead of face-to-face sessions for any of my clients. Just let me know.

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