Jun 10, 2021
Jul 15, 2020
Calming The Anxious Mind During COVID19
The current presence of COVID-19 has created increased chaos, and many of us are left wondering what is going to happen as a result. Our mind has a tendency to wander around and jump to various conclusions, but there are alternative ways to think and behave that might help us feel better. When I find myself getting stuck in my own mind or thinking negatively about a situation, I often think “what can I do to change the feelings related to this thought process”. I will share some techniques I use and why I enjoy them, and I would also like to share some techniques for you to try in case my ideas aren’t of direct interest. Being outdoors has always provided a sense of enjoyment because fresh air, exploring nature, and learning how the world works without human involvement is fascinating. Sometimes I like to take it a step further and ride my ATV in the woods to explore different land structures or wildlife. I usually do this with my cell phone only being used in case of emergency so I am not distracted and can enjoy the moment. I also think we need to learn how to “disconnect” from the world temporarily, which includes putting down our phones and feeling a sense of freedom from social interaction. Utilizing video games could be another way to disconnect from the world for a little while and put energy into a virtual world of achievement. Some other helpful techniques to reduce anxiety/stress are:
1: Guided meditation - Utilizing this technique allows us to be present in the moment, which helps minimize stress, anxiety, and depressed mood. I have found this technique to be helpful in the evenings when trying to sleep because it allows our mind to calm down and not focus on struggles of daily living during a time when relaxation is needed. Starting out with a 3 or 5 minute guided meditation is most helpful because it allows the mind to build focus and understanding. Give this a try for approximately 7 days and see if there is a change in your sleep pattern, mood, or overall stress level.
2: Journaling - I have found this to be a helpful technique when we aren’t able to make sense of several thoughts or a situation. Writing down information allows me to better process what is happening and develop a plan to either continue with success, or to create a plan to change for the better. It also works as a form of emotional release if you are feeling as though there is no possibility of expressing yourself to someone else. Making the journal a bit decorative and unique can help you feel as though “this is my personal location for my thoughts and feelings and only I am allowed to know what is written”.
3: Exercise - This doesn’t necessarily mean going out to run 5 miles every day, which is how some people define “exercise”. Exercise can be as simple as mild movements, like stretching for example. Stretching helps relax tension within our muscles, which allows mental energy to flow better through our body. Movement also begins to release endorphins, which are “feel good” chemicals our body naturally produces to say “hey I like what you’re doing”. This also gives us the reinforcement to continue doing these behaviors to feel more positive about our well being. Getting a planner could be helpful with this activity because you can write down different exercises or stretches and develop a time frame to complete them.
These skills take practice to achieve satisfaction, so it’s okay if you’re not right where you want to be when you get started. Give yourself some time to develop a pattern of behaviors that work well for you and I think you’ll be surprised with what your mind is capable of teaching. The more practice you put into these activities, the more automatic your responses will become because your mind and body will recognize the positive aspects of your new journey. Throughout your exploration you’ll be able to find activities that work right for you.
About the author:
Bryan Schon, MA, LPC, NCC is a Licensed National Board-Certified Counselor helping teens and adults overcome anxiety and stress in Farmington, CT.
866-887-6864 extension 816
Jim Moutinho was a guest today on the Brad Davis with Gary Byron discussing how to help loved ones suffering from depression or mental health issues. For the full interview go to www.talkofconnecticut.com
On May 31, 2019, Jim Moutinho appeared on the Brad Davis Show The Talk of Connecticut 1360am to discuss responsible alcohol use and the family. Topics included alcohol use in society, evaluating what is problematic drinking versus responsible drinking, discussing topics with children and family, and upcoming family outings where alcohol is present.
go to www.talkofconnecticut.com to listen to the broadcast.
Side Gigs to Make Ends Meet When You’re Recovering from a Mental Illness
When mental illness takes control of your life, you likely do not have the energy necessary to focus on much more than your recovery. Many people find that when their mental illness has spiraled out of control, they need to put their careers and aspirations on the sidelines while they work on recovery. However, after some time working with professionals and doing plenty of soul-searching, it can be healthy to get back into a working mindset. Maybe it’s not time to throw yourself back into the pressures and anxieties of your former position, but taking up one or two side gigs that tap into your hobbies and creativity while making some extra money can provide a sense of purpose and utility that is essential for healthy self-esteem.
The side gigs mentioned here are generally home-based. When working from home, it’s imperative to have a workspace separate from the parts of your home used for socializing and relaxing. Your own home office helps you avoid distractions for optimal productivity. If you live with family or roommates, communicate with them that you are not to be disturbed when working unless it’s an emergency. Another great home office hack is setting up your space in a part of the house with as much natural light as possible. Light stimulates feelings of productivity and positivity, keeping you on track during your workday. If your place is a bit lacking in the natural light department, feel free to make do with your own lighting design that combines ambient, task, accent, and decorative elements.
Sell Handmade Goods on Etsy
Etsy is an online marketplace where people go to find handmade versions of their favorite things. If you are a handy person, you probably know how to make something that people want to buy. Etsy allows makers to sell products ranging from prints to jewelry and homemade beauty supplies. You can even sell digital downloads if your talents are more about graphic design or coding. While Etsy charges for the products you list, you get the added benefit of using a marketplace people already use. People who shop on Etsy want to support small businesses.
Dog Walking and Pet Sitting
If you’re the type of person who finds themselves hanging with the dog at the party, this is the side gig for you. Spending time around pets is good for your mental health. Household pets ease anxiety and promote mindfulness. Combine the benefits of spending time with four-legged friends with the opportunity to make some extra bread, and it’s the perfect post-recovery side gig for many out there. To get started with dog walking and pet sitting, consider going through a third-party site that connects you with pet parents searching for services while adding a level of security for both parties involved. Many pet-sitting websites have limited insurance that will cover damages or injuries should they occur during the time employed.
Teach Music Lessons
If breaking out your instrument is your go-to move whenever you feel stressed, teaching music lessons taps into that therapeutic release while generating a healthy hourly rate. The thing about music lessons is that while you may spend time instructing and going over teaching materials, a lot of the lesson time is spent simply playing together with your pupil. Furthermore, you get to enjoy the self-esteem-boosting benefits of teaching somebody a healthy skill.
If you’re recovering from mental illness and you’re not quite ready to jump back into your career, it may help to make ends meet with one or two side gigs that you enjoy. Not only can the extra money help, but taking on minor responsibilities also helps re-build your self-esteem. Look into ways to turn the things you love into a money-making venture, whether that involves selling your handmade wares on Etsy, helping pet parents with their furry loved ones, or passing on your love of and talent for music to willing pupils.