Although I sincerely hope this newsletter finds you healthy, resilient and strong, I also know it may arrive at a time when you are struggling. In recent conversations with clients, colleagues, family and friends there seems to be a clear and present theme at the forefront of each of your minds: the on-going mental toll and exhaustion from this relentless pandemic & related employment changes. It deeply saddens me when others are feeling emotional fatigue, ongoing stress and profound loss on a continual basis.
No matter whether we choose change or change chooses us, a shift of any kind can disrupt health and well-being, key relationships, daily routines, and – in the case of costly health issues or unexpected job loss – financial strain. Coupled with your body adjusting to the time change (if you live in a place with daylight savings) and the fast approaching holidays, I understand that there is a lot to cope with.
As pandemic-related consequences continue to impact your personal and professional life, it is more important than ever to bestow grace upon yourself and others. Now is the time for you to “feel the feels” and allow others to do the same. We don’t need to fix ourselves or fix others, but rather allow the space to feel what we feel in this intensely trying time. Self-care practices and a support network are increasingly critical during this time to help you remain resilient. As we continue to maneuver through what feels like this never-ending pandemic let’s practice compassion, kindness and self-care together. I invite you to give yourself and others a little extra TLC this month.
Build a Strong Support Network
I cannot emphasize enough how crucial social support is to our mental health. Having a strong support system can help you navigate the many challenges and hardships presented by this ongoing pandemic. We all need someone to lean on to help ease the burden of the emotional load you carry. Cultivate a more robust support network in your coach, place of worship, family, friends, mentor, therapist or support group. Sometimes you may need a little extra support especially if you are dealing with anxiety, financial hardship, illness or loss. It’s ok to look beyond your friends and family. I know for me that I could not have made it through the past month with the same resilience if I had not had the support of my incredible network which includes my husband, close family, dear friends, therapist, business coach, peer coaches, colleagues, and massage & somatic practitioners. It truly takes a village!
Listed below are ten online support groups for anyone that is struggling right now. According to Self , “Remember that support groups can be very helpful, but they’re not a replacement for professional mental health treatment. Similarly, just as you’d shop around for a therapist who feels like a good fit, you should keep an eye on whether a support group you join is actually, well, providing you support.”
- Support Groups Central – It curates support groups from other organizations, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
- The Dinner Party – helps groups of 20- and 30-somethings who have experienced the loss of a parent, partner, child, sibling, another close family member, or close friend gather in small groups called tables.
- Psychology Today – as a therapist-finding tool, and many therapists are currently hosting virtual support groups (and more-targeted therapy groups and workshops if you’re interested in those).
- Facebook – Some therapists and mental health professionals have created support spaces there in recent months in response to mental health challenges related to COVID-19.
- ADAA Online Support Group – The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) has its own anonymous, peer-to-peer support group with over 60,000 subscribers.
- Zencare – A resource that helps connect users with therapists, Zencare also has a list of virtual groups for support and connection amid the pandemic.
- Body Politic COVID-19 Support Group – Body Politic, a queer feminist wellness collective, started a COVID-19 support group after their founder and their creative director both became sick with the coronavirus in early March.
- Alcoholics Anonymous
- Wisdo – Within the app, you can join specific themed communities to discuss anything from coronavirus anxiety and loneliness to racism and LGBTQ+ issues.
10. Meetup – You might be familiar with Meetup as a way to connect socially, but many users have also long used it to organize support groups.
Techniques to Manage Your COVID-19 Anxiety and Stress
According to Banner Health, “The Delta variant and vaccine hesitancy have combined to launch another surge in COVID-19 infections. And along with that comes another surge in mental health challenges related to the pandemic.” The uncertainty of the pandemic can emotionally drain you and mentally wear you down. Everything is up in the air from schooling, working remotely, vaccinations to when will this pandemic finally end? Navaid Khan, MD, a Banner Health psychiatrist recommends the following to help you manage your stress:
- Make plans (with proper precautions) to help ease your uncertainty – According to Dr. Khan, “Having something to look forward to can help alleviate stress and break the monotony of living through the pandemic.”
- Recognize that you might develop compassion fatigue – Talking about your feelings can help you cope with compassion fatigue and regain your sense of empathy.
- Break away from news and social media – These vehicles can further feed your anxiety.
- Turn to the tried-and-true stress busters – Dr. Khan said, “It’s about finding a ritual that is meaningful to you.”
- Seek professional help if you need it – If the strategies listed above are not helping you, seek out a counselor or therapist to help you process your feelings.
I know these times are incredibly challenging. I hope that you find the information above helpful. My wish is that one of these tips might help ease your anxiety, quiet your mind or create additional support for you. I want to arm you with tools to help weather this storm. Please know that I am here for you. I know the holidays may not look the same again this year, but please know that I am thinking of you and your families. I am grateful for you and I wish you a blessed Thanksgiving filled with hope and love.