Mindful Living During a Pandemic

Mindful Living During a Pandemic

Amanda Marshall, Psychology Intern

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken this year from us, and has created a lot of confusion, stress, anxiety, and frustration. Between remembering your PPE while running out to the grocery store, managing online instruction for the kids, working from home or experiencing job loss, and managing all the necessary day-to-day tasks like laundry, cooking, and cleaning – this is getting old quick! It can feel like a bag of bricks that we have been dragging around for months, and if you ask me, this is exhausting. When the world is swirling around us like this, and there are only so many things we can really control, it is important to take a step back. Practicing mindfulness is an effective tool for each of us to have in our back pocket.

Here are some tips for mindful living (especially during the Covid-19 pandemic):

Three Good Things. This practice, promoted in positive psychology, can help you to refocus your mind, build resilience, and encourage feelings of happiness and optimism. As we learn to adapt to living through these unusual times, it may be nice to start or end you day with Three Good Things. There is a lot of flexibility with how you choose to engage with this task as long as you include these main elements: (1) think of something good that you have in your life or that has happened recently; this can be something as simple as an enjoyable conversation with a friend, (2) reflect on how this positive thing impacts you and your life, and (3) take a moment to experience gratitude for the positive thing you have identified. Repeat these steps, identifying Three Good Things in your life. You may even enjoy journaling about these good things to have them to look back on when you are in need of a positive reminder.

Mindful Appreciation. This year, our routines have been dismantled, and many are struggling to find a new normal. As we move through each day, mindfulness and appreciation can help us to build a more positive mindset and provide moments for much needed reflection. To use these tools, allow yourself to have greater awareness of each of your activities throughout the day (eating, getting your kids ready, listening to the rain fall, or even sipping that first cup of coffee!) and allow yourself to acknowledge the significance of each of these small things. Sometimes the repetition of our daily routine can overshadow the simple joys, so try to draw your attention in on these moments and intentionally dedicate a thought to appreciating what is there in front of you. Recognizing the small things in life can help us to gain a more positive outlook and have greater appreciation for where we are today, instead of concern for where we will be tomorrow.

Meditation and Laughter. Sometimes finding much needed balance in life can feel impossible, but meditation and laughter can help us to achieve some of that balance by reclaiming our calm and enjoying life out loud. Meditation is quiet, purposeful, and allows the mind to rest and reduce anxiety. Laughter can be loud, it releases tension in the body and helps to alleviate stress. Laughter has an immediate effect, increasing positive feelings, stimulating the heart and lungs, and releasing endorphins in the brain. I think we could all use a bit more laughter in our lives, especially when life feels uncertain and stressful. Finding ways to incorporate meditation into your day (even if it is only 3 or 5 minutes!) and finding ways to laugh throughout each day can lead to wonderful long-term benefits and are simple ways to engage in self-care.

Life may feel uncertain right now. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but these are just a few small ways that we can encourage a more positive mindset, brighten our day, and engage in some much-needed self-care.

HOW STRESS CAN AFFECT YOUR HEALTH

How Stress Can Affect Your Health

by Healing Hands Chiropractic Staff 

Stress is bad for your health, but everyone deals with it. That’s why it’s important to learn to manage your mental health. Here at Healing Hands Chiropractic, we have a few tips to help you out.

WHAT IS STRESS A SIGN OF?

This is your body’s natural reaction to any stimulus or change in your environment. Even just thinking about something can cause you to feel stressed. The body reacts emotionally, physically, and mentally to these changes in varying degrees.

image by pexels

Quarantine Burnout is a Real (Mental and Physical) Health Risk

Written by Dr. Liz Matheis

Featured on ADDitude

Pandemic fatigue has set in. After two seasons in isolation, mental health providers continue to see increased depression, anxiety, and exhaustion. Restless, active ADHD brains may be even more prone to these feelings — and in even greater need of help. Here is how to get it.

Life and liberty changed drastically in March 2020 – a month that will be forever etched in our national history and collective consciousness. So many daily freedoms — running an errand, meeting up with a friend for dinner, exercising at the gym, getting a haircut, hugging another person, going to a party — were erased totally and quickly.

I grumbled through the first few weeks of Zoom calls and remote learning and grocery delivery thinking it would come to an end in a month, at the very longest. I was wrong. Very wrong.

 

Image by Pexels

Its Okay to Feel

During COVID-19 you may experience a whirlwind of emotions all in one day. One minute you may feel overwhelmed and the next minute you may feel as though you aren’t doing enough. Here is your friendly reminder that it is OKAY to feel. All of the emotions that you are experiencing are VALID, and you should not be ashamed of this.

Allow yourself to feel the emotions that you are going through. Reach out to friends, family, or a professional if it would help you to talk out your emotions to someone. You don’t have to always have a brave face, it’s okay to be vulnerable, especially in a time like this. You are doing just fine, don’t be too hard on yourself. We are getting through this together, one day at a time.

The Standards of “Shoulds”

The Standards of “Shoulds”

Jennifer Mandato, LAC

As I sit home in the silence of this quarantine, my mind is riddled with “should’s”.

I should be cleaning my house more…. I should be exercising more…. I should be practicing more mindfulness…. Those are only a few that I hear daily.  I felt because I am home more SHOULD be able to get done.  Then one day as I was unwinding after work scrolling through social media, I came across this quote by Jenny Jaffe “You’re only unproductive by the standards of the world we live in two months ago and that world is gone”. Almost instantly I felt myself exhale and a weight lifted off my shoulders.  In that moment with everything going on that was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. I was comparing myself to our previous normal of what I could get done but things are not that way.  I cannot go to stores and go about daily routines as I used to.  Our world is very different now and what I can accomplish in a day is enough.  What we can do on a given day under the circumstances is enough.  This quote has almost become a daily mantra to remind myself of as to know I am doing everything I can and that is enough.  What you are doing is enough and breathe!

 

 

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“My Daily Schedule is in Tatters!” How to Build Routine and Boundaries Now

“My Daily Schedule is in Tatters!” How to Build Routine and Boundaries Now

Written by Dr. Liz Matheis

Without commutes and errands and sports practices, many parents and adults with ADHD feel they should have more time. But instead they just have more work, more distress, and more disorientation — a feeling of being ungrounded and unfocused due to all that unstructured time. Perhaps more than ever before, it’s critical to carve out a schedule that balances work and home life. Here’s how:

Our boundaries are obliterated. We are employees, parents, teachers, house cleaners, personal assistants, and playmates to our children — all at the same time. Each day feels like ‘some’ day; the labels ‘Tuesday’ and ‘Friday’ are just quaint reminders of the schedules we used to keep.

Without commutes and errands and sports practices, many parents and adults with ADHD feel they should have more time. But instead they just have more work, more distress, and more disorientation — a feeling of being ungrounded and unfocused due to all that unstructured time. Perhaps more than ever before, it’s critical for adults with ADHD and parents of children with ADHD to carve out a schedule that balances work and home life. Right now, routine is the secret to giving you back a sense of the time of day as well as the day of the week, not to mention your goals and priorities.

 

Image by Unsplashed

Dear COVID-19: Why I’m Angry but Grateful

Dear COVID-19: Why I’m Angry but Grateful

Written by Dr. Liz Matheis

Dear COVID-19,

I can’t believe how you, a virus, have taken our world and turned it upside down. You have shutdown our world, isolated us, taken away our ability to hug and to lay a warm hand on another’s shoulder who is not in our immediate home. You have taken away our ability to work outside of our homes, physically sit in a restaurant and enjoy a meal or go to the movies.

You have taken away our children’s milestones, planning for a vacation and ability to go into stores without being panicked. You have taken away our ability to be human interacting with humans.

I’m so mad at you!

I feel isolated, sad, anxious and tired because I can’t sleep without waking up…

 

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The Importance of Hygiene Habits during COVID 19

The Importance of Hygiene Habits during COVID 19

Written By Nicole Filiberti

There are many ways our lives have been significantly changed in the past few weeks. Educating our children, very frequent hand washing and donning face masks when going grocery shopping are just a few of the many differences in the way we are currently living versus the way we went about our daily lives before this pandemic. The importance of hygiene has increased given the current happenings in the world. Here are a few helpful tips and tricks to keep you and your loved ones safe during this challenging time.

 

  1. Disinfecting is your friend!

Now more than ever are we appreciating the help of disinfectant sprays and wipes. Remember that every time you leave your house, you are at risk of exposure. Removing your shoes before you re-enter your home, or quickly spraying them with disinfectant before you bring them in are steps that can significantly reduce your chances of bringing any unwanted germs into your home. Think about all of the frequently touched surfaces in your home and make it a routine to clean them. This includes electronic devices like iPads, computer keyboards and door handles. It would be remiss to not mention the fact that obtaining these items has become very difficult, so read on for a DIY disinfectant recipe that you can utilize.

 

  1. Barriers, barriers, barriers

The more you can do to separate yourself from the germs, the better. This includes wearing gloves and masks when going out and not touching your face. Create an invisible protection barrier by avoiding any touching your face when outside. Wash your hands before making any contact with any part of your face.

 

  1. Keep the immune system strong

It is not secret that food and habits have a significant impact on our health and well being. Now more than ever is it important to fuel your body with plenty of vegetables and fruits. Try not to fall into the habits of stress eating processed and sugary snacks and instead incorporate fresh, whole foods as much as possible. This is also a great time to step up your sleep game and make an effort to get quality sleep every night. These habits set you up with a strong immune system which is your first line of defense if you are to come in contact with any unwanted germs or viruses.

 

DIY Disinfectant Recipe

Pour hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Spray onto surfaces to be disinfected. Be sure to let it sit for a minimum of 1 minute. There is no need to wipe after.

Quarantine Self-Care: You Deserve It, Mama!

Quarantine Self-Care: You Deserve It, Mama!

By: Heidi Borst

These days, even though our minds are heavy with worry over coronavirus and we need self-care more than ever, it’s tough to make it a priority; instead, we’re focused on keeping our families safe & healthy, managing our finances despite dwindling incomes, and teaching/entertaining our kids in between conference calls and work deadlines. With so much on our plates, it’s easy to sacrifice our own needs. But during times of stress and uncertainty like the present, taking care of ourselves is essential, and besides, we deserve it!

Remember those Saturday morning mani/pedis at your favorite nail salon, or treating yourself to a much-needed massage while your partner handled the kids? To be honest, I’d give anything just to have the option of dropping my son off at our gym’s childcare center… just to be able to bust out a workout sans interruption (home workouts are tough).  While we have all given up a lot, there are still simple ways to indulge in self-care, at home, that are just as satisfying. Even better, they cost way less! Here are 5 ways you can nurture yourself, even under the restrictions of quarantine.

Read (Or Listen to) A Book

I’ve always been an avid reader, but since becoming a mother, finding the time to read has been tough. At the end of the day, I crave mindless reality tv, I’ll admit it. Before quarantine, I struggled to read the one magazine I subscribed to, forget about getting through an actual book. But now, I’m taking advantage of being stuck at home to carve out some much-needed alone time. I let everyone know that I’m not to be disturbed (it actually works sometimes!) and give myself an hour or so to dive into a novel. This works for anything, reading or not, that you’d love to do but haven’t been able to squeeze in. Schedule a date with yourself and let the family know you’ll be unavailable for a while. Time to make it happen!

Watch a Funny Movie

Personally, I’m skipping the heavily dark or dramatic stuff these days and going with entertainment that makes me laugh- because right now, I need to lighten things up a bit. While I’m keeping abreast of daily current events and the latest updates on the COVID situation, I’m limiting my news exposure to early on in the day, avoiding the news entirely in the evening before bed. Ending the day on a humorous or uplifting note makes me feel so much better. After all, isn’t laughter the best medicine? It definitely doesn’t hurt.

Create Ways to Stay Active

Recently, I woke up in a major funk, overwhelmed by the gravity of the situation we’re all in and the lack of answers I have about what’s to come in the near future. All I could think to do was to get moving. So, I put on my sneakers, called my dog to join me, and started walking. It took a while, and I listened to a free guided meditation (offered with the Audible subscription I don’t fully take advantage of), but the stress slowly melted away. Nature can be extremely invigorating; our bodies were made to move. The simple act of walking is enough to release those feel-good endorphins and improve your mood, and it’s free!  Do whatever it is you love- go outside and do a quick HIIT workout in your driveway, walk with your family, or stream one of the free workouts fitness pros are offering right now. You’ll feel a million times better.

Host a Virtual Happy Hour

Did you know that human connection is the number one indicator of longevity? With a few modifications, it’s still possible to nourish our relationships and fill our friendship cups while at home in quarantine. If you’re missing your girl-time like me, technology makes it too easy not to stay connected! So, go ahead, pour a glass of wine, and connect with your girlfriends virtually over Facetime, Zoom, or whatever method you prefer. It’s almost as fun as the real thing, and your friends won’t care if you’re not wearing makeup! It’s so easy to feel isolated right now as we practice social distancing so stay in close contact with friends to keep that pervasive loneliness at bay.

Have an At-Home Spa Day

Spas aren’t an option right now, but you can achieve the same result at home, for a fraction of the cost. My favorite way to pamper myself is by slathering on a face mask and running a long, steaming-hot bath with pounds (yes, pounds) of Epsom salt. To make the atmosphere extra spa-like, I use several drops of an essential oil; lavender is great for relaxing before bed, and citrus is wonderful for achieving a refreshed state during the day. Add bubbles in the bath, maybe even with a glass of bubbly on the side. Choose your favorite scent, close your eyes, and slip away as long as you like… imagine you’re at your favorite beach vacation locale and let it all go. After your bath, taking a few minutes to dry brush your body will get the lymphatic system flowing. Finish it off with a fresh coat of paint on your toes, and you’ll feel like a fresh, rejuvenated version of yourself!

Mama, Take Care of Yourself During COVID-19

Taking Care of Yourself Too

Written by Dr. Liz Matheis 

Now that we’ve been in our “new normal” for a few weeks, our kids are adjusting a bit to distance learning and being home 24/7. A question I’m hearing from parents about their children (and themselves) is, “Is it possible to be adjusting but still feel anxious?” The answer is a resounding yes.

As human beings, we have the ability to adapt to a new schedule, a new environment, a different routine within two weeks. But that still doesn’t take away our adult worry about a few key questions:

  • When will this end?
  • Will my kids be able to go back to school this year?
  • How many people have been diagnosed today?
  • How many in my town/state/country have not survived?
  • Do I have the virus?
  • What if my elderly parents, aunt, uncle, grandparents, neighbors contract the virus?

Worrying can occupy a great deal of your time and energy and drain you both physically and emotionally. Our children need us, right now, to serve as their grounding force, both emotionally and physically.

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"The various psycho-educational testing Dr. Liz conducted on our son gave us critical clues about where his learning strengths and weaknesses lie so that his needs could be better addressed at home and school. Moreover, because of their warm, kindhearted personalities, both Dr. Liz and her associate, Stephanie, formed an immediate bond with my son. He eagerly looks forward to his weekly therapy sessions. We are so lucky Dr. Liz came into our family's lives when she did! For stressed-out families trying to help their children as best they can, she is a calming voice of reason!"
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"Thank you, Dr. Liz. Although we have told you countless times, it will never feel enough. You have listened when J could barely speak and continued to listen when he was sad, angry and confused. You've challenged him and directed us in our roles as parents. You've helped J face his fears while the list evolved and changed, and yet you've stayed committed to 'the course.' We pray that your children realize that time away from them is spent helping children learn and that vulnerability is a sign of strength and bravery."
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