As COVID rages, as political divides widen, and as we acknowledge the difficulties that so many people experience in having basic needs met, including needs for food, shelter, meaningful work, and dignity, it can be easy to let our own health go. It can be easy to stop exercising, to eat unhealthy foods, to isolate, and to act in ways that put our own health at risk. And yet, no matter what stressors we face individually and as a community, it is important to build resilience by focusing on our own physical and mental health.
When thinking about how to provide support to medical colleagues treating people with COVID, my colleagues and I turned to a model of Psychological First Aid. Psychological First Aid suggests that there are several health-enhancing actions we can take in the face of a crisis.
I think this is why so many people have adopted pets: pets have a way of helping us to feel safe. Here are other ways to find moments of feeling safe:
Having a moment like this will not solve all your problems, but it may give you the energy and focus to return to face the problems you need to face.
Throughout this pandemic and time of social distancing, it remains so important to maintain and even build connections with other people – to family, friends, colleagues, people from your religious community, or neighbors.
We all need to return to healthy practices – over and over. This weekend, at the end of an online yoga class I attend, the word that came to me is “endure.” That is, we need to keep putting one foot in front of the other each day, no matter how difficult. I also felt sad and discouraged, and had thoughts such as “I’m tired of this,” and “I don’t want to endure.” After sitting with this for a few minutes, I called my sister, who made me laugh.
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