My telephone Town Hall on March 31 focused on Staying Calm: Resources for Coping during this Corona crisis. The town hall featured three licensed clinical professionals and an expert from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.
Our experts discussed several strategies to help each of us prevent anxiety and stress from taking over during this difficult time: whether if we are living alone, have children home 24/7, are one of the many people still going to work in essential jobs, or are among those who lost a job.
You can listen to the town hall here:
All of our experts relayed that feeling sadness, fear, anxiety, anger, trauma, grief, loss or some combination of these emotions, is common and normal right now. And importantly, they recommended strategies to help us cope so that our fear and anxieties don't overwhelm us.
Strategies for Minimizing Anxiety
- Exercise: Go for a walk, hike, or bike ride — while maintaining physical distancing.
- Take advantage of the many YouTube and online resources for work outs, yoga, stretching, etc.
- Do small things to relax: flop your hands, roll your shoulders.
- Practice mindfulness, taking calming breaths is one strategy. Here are some mindfulness and mediation Apps Unwinding Anxiety and Headspace. And go here for some Mindfulness Meditation Instructions.
- Yale's Wildly Popular Course "Science of Happiness" is being offered online for free.
Maintain a schedule
- When our lives are so upended, it helps to have a little consistency in daily routines. Experts recommended waking up at a regular time, getting dressed, and building in appropriate activities whether you are working from home or not.
Too much news can be stressful
- Limit amount of time looking at online news sources, TV or the like.
- Go with trusted sources and basic news updates and avoid overdosing.
Strategies for Parenting: Be a good listener
- Remember the flight attendant's recommendation: "Put your own oxygen mask first." Do your best to maintain your own well-being so you can be there for your kids.
- Listen closely to your children. How are they trying to understand what is going on?
- Don't over promise. It's OK to admit that you don't know how long this is going to last.
- Cut kids some slack. Cut yourselves some slack.
- Find ways to help other people, like reaching out to seniors or those living alone, volunteering at a local food bank, delivering Meals on Wheels to seniors (Contra Costa County Food Bank and Alameda County Community Food Bank, Meals on Wheels), or donating blood (Red Cross).
Remember the big picture
- Think about the hard moments in your own life, and how your own strength and resilience helped pull you through.
- Think about all the capable people — scientists, doctors, and others — working hard to figure out how to slow down the virus and cure it.
Ask for help
This is no time to grit your teeth and go it alone. Many psychologists, therapists and other licensed professionals are offering free or low cost tele-sessions. And there are 24/7 hotlines available when and if someone we know faces a crisis
California Psychological Association Find a Psychologist Locator https://www.cpapsych.org/page/find
Psychology Today guide to therapists, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists
Steinberg Institute website, links to mental health resources and care throughout California, https://steinberginstitute.org/links-research-care/
Crisis Support Line of Alameda County https://www.crisissupport.org/programs/crisis-line/
Contra Costa: mental or emotional crisis, call our 24-hour Access Line at 1-888-678-7277 for mental health resources or the Contra Costa Crisis Center at 1-800-833-2900 for 24-hour crisis support https://cchealth.org/mentalhealth/
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)
National Domestic Violence Hotline can help victims, survivors of domestic violence. Call 1-800-799-7233. https://www.thehotline.org/
Again, you can also listen to the Town Hall here:
I hope you find this information helpful. It's a pleasure serving you in the state Senate.