Whether you have been personally affected by COVID-19 or indirectly through family or friends, it has been hard to keep the anxiety at bay. 

Therapy may be the last thing on your mind right now, but times of upheaval are sometimes the best times to find the “calm in the eye of the storm”: going inward, taking a few deep breaths, or spending some one-on-one time with your therapist can do wonders to drastically shift your emotional state. Whatever your self-care strategy of choice might be, consider moving it up to #1 on your list of things to do. 

If you are new to WILA or a current patient, consider that your mental health is equally as important as your physical health – and we are here for you! While we’ve had to temporarily close our physical office, “virtual WILA” is OPEN! We are taking new clients, seeing current clients over secured video and phone sessions, and meeting as a group most days of the week to keep the momentum going. If you haven’t reached out yet, consider calling us to schedule a 15-minute confidential phone intake, and see if WILA just might be part of your self-care in this time.

A smile goes a long way! Here are some of our smiling faces from last week: 

covid-19 staying together
Staying together during social distancing

A few tips for the season: 

  1. Working from home? It can be tough to separate your “work life” from your “home life”. Consider some tips from work-from-home pros like: creating structure; designating a small “office space” (even clearing up a small corner with a desk calendar and to-do list could do the trick!); and taking regular breaks. Essentially, think of whatever makes sense for you in this context so that working from home doesn’t look like having a home office – that takes up your whole house. 
  2. Not working? If you’re eligible, do what you can to secure unemployment, and then let it go – and take a deep breath. Focus on what you can control, like where you can put your energy and attention to best use. 
  3. Consider restricting your screen time, especially if you tend to get sucked-in to news stories that leave you anxiety-ridden for the rest of the day. 
  4. Seek out nature. If you can, spend time outside – even if it’s just a walk around the block! If you can’t, check out some nature documentaries. It can be enormously calming to witness natural rhythms.
  5. Eat well. It helps, and research suggests the gut is our “second brain”. Seek out foods that strengthen your immune system and try to get enough rest.
  6. Listen to music. And while you’re at it … be mindful of how different kinds of music make you feel – and what you may need more of now. Allow yourself to experiment with music that you may not have given a second thought to during routine times. 
  7. Make space. Try to keep your living space clean – or clear out space where you can. Sometimes physical clutter can influence our mental state as well. 
  8. Have kids at home? Be creative – and try setting up a weekly “wind-down” virtual happy hour with other parents. Find out how others are managing and create community with people who are having a similar experience.
  9. Try yoga. There are lots of options! My favorite studio in Portland has moved online – and you can try out a class here. (Or, sign up to check out their online classes, talks and meditations with a one-day free pass using this link.) “There is power in the pause,” they say. 
  10. Be kind to yourself. It’s not easy – in fact, the word floating around is “unprecedented”. Do what you can, and let that be enough. Find support where you can, give support when you can, and ask for help without judging yourself for needing it. This (link: Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty) might be a good first step.
  11. Take a moment to self reflect. Is this bringing up any triggering emotions for you? Trauma expert Bessel Van der Kolk talks about these in a 30-minute video: COVID-19 & Trauma. Recognizing what’s going on in your inner world can help to reduce the intensity of your reactions. If you need help, consider asking a friend for support or reaching out to your therapist. 

Remember, you know yourself better than anyone else and there’s a lot of advice floating around out there. Take what works for you, and just let the rest go. That includes this blog!

If you are working on the frontlines, we salute you. If you are staying home, we salute you, too. Thank you for helping to keep us safe! 

Stay in touch!

What has been helping you these days? What do you need more of? Share your tips with us online or use #virtualWILA to share your photos on Instagram.

I’m Veronika Larova, Psy.D., one of the therapists you could see at Wright Institute Los Angeles where we offer Affordable Therapy for Everyday People!

Veronika earned her doctorate at California Southern University, and also holds a Master’s degree in Clinical-Counseling Psychology from La Salle University. Her approach is creative, empathic, and collaborative. She has a special interest in working with women, emerging adults in their 20s and beyond, and those who have experienced trauma. At WILA, Veronika facilitates the Voices of Warriors (VOW) group for women who have experienced sexual trauma, as well as the Safe Space group for women in the entertainment industry who have experienced sexual harassment.