Pandemic Goals: Stay semi-sane, healthy, and connected : Kate Murphy Therapy
Kate Murphy, LCSW specializes in working with people suffering from anxiety and depression, and provides couples therapy including premarital counseling in the Atlanta metro area of Norcross, GA at the Pathway Center for Psychotherapy.
premarital counseling, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, anger, control issues, career issues, stress, lack of balance, individual therapy, couples therapy, counseling, psychotherapy, Atlanta GA, Gwinnett County, DeKalb County, Fulton County, Norcross GA.
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Pandemic Goals: Stay semi-sane, healthy, and connected

Pandemic goals

Pandemic Goals: Stay semi-sane, healthy, and connected

So you thought you might finish the great American novel or do Pinterest-worthy crafts with your kids while you sheltered in place.

That’s not happening. Most likely you’re working from home so there isn’t a ton of free time. If you have kids, presto-magic, you’re also a home school teacher. Now if you are accomplishing a ton of shit, enjoy it and keep it to yourself as a public service to the rest of us.

Home school teacherFace it folks, we’re living through a pandemic. It’s a pretty big deal. Your only job is to keep yourself, and your kids if you have them, semi-sane, healthy, and reasonably connected to friends and family.

Most of us are in for at least another month. I’ve been seeing clients virtually. Feelings and behaviors are all over the place as we collectively experience a major system failure. Mine included. It’s a collage of super-prepared, overwhelmed, frenetic, happy yet guilty, fearful, angry, sad and everywhere in between, sometimes all at once.

Remember, this is new and you’re doing the best you can. This is my mantra!

Healthcare workers rockIf you work in a job considered essential, you’re having a different experience still. Healthcare to grocery, THANK YOU!! I’m blessed to do my work online. I recognize the privilege.

I spent 20+ years in a service-based industry. I’m very aware that my life and level of stress would be extremely different right now if that was still my job. Hats off to all of you — working or trying to figure out the maze of unemployment paperwork — my heart goes out to you.

3 Practices to Quiet Pandemic Panic

There is a ton of content out there on how to do the pandemic. Use what resonates and discard the rest. Kind of like the news. I’m sharing 3 practices that can help manage overwhelm. All 3 practices support getting out of our head and into the present moment, experiencing some positivity, and love.

5-4-3-2-1 Senses Exercise

Pay attention to your breathing. Take slow, deep, long breaths. If you’re really feeling panicked you may not be able to take deep breaths. It’s ok, move on to the 5 senses exercise.

5 senses grounding Go through the following steps. If possible, talk out loud.

5:  Find 5 things you see. It could be your monitor, tree outside, etc…

4:  Find 4 things you can touch. It could be your shirt, a pillow, or floor

3:  Find 3 things you hear. A fan, your stomach, kids, or dogs.

2:  Find 2 things you smell. Coffee, detergent on your shirt, or walk outside to smell a flower.

1:  Notice 1 thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like? Toothpaste, coffee, or breakfast.

Notice Small Wins or Moments of Gratitude

Research has found that feeling grateful improves physical health (immune system to gastrointestinal issues to headaches), promotes positive re-framing of negative situations, increases overall life satisfaction, and resiliency. These are all things you need in a pandemic!

thankfulBefore bed take time to review the day. What actually happened to you? Note at least one thing that was a win or sincerely brings up a feeling of gratitude. It doesn’t have to be big. Was your breakfast delicious? Did your child finish an assignment?

If possible, write down the memory in a journal or notepad. When you feel overwhelmed, review your list. Seeing the wins that are happening within your own 4 walls can help bring you back to the present and to the things that are within your sphere of influence.

Loving Kindness Meditation

Loving-kindness meditation consists primarily of connecting to the intention of wishing ourselves or others happiness. This is my personal favorite because it is a practice which allows me to send out love to others.

Sit in a comfortable and relaxed manner. Take a few deep breaths with slow, long exhalations. For a few minutes, feel or imagine the breath moving through the center of your chest – in the area of your heart.

Sending out loveFirst, bring to mind a friend or someone in your life who has deeply cared for you. Slowly repeat phrases of loving-kindness toward them:

May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.

As you say these phrases, sink into the intention or heartfelt meaning. And, if any feelings of loving-kindness arise, connect the feelings with the phrases so that the feelings may become stronger as you repeat the words.

Second, as you continue the meditation, bring to mind a person who is giving you trouble or who you are in conflict with and slowly repeat phrases of loving-kindness toward them:

May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.

Focus on the intention of the phrases and imagine the words going out to the person you are imagining. See the words landing on the person and being absorbed by them.

Third, bring to mind a group who you are concerned about repeat phrases of loving-kindness toward them:

May you all be happy. May you all be well. May you all be safe. May you all be peaceful and at ease.

As you say these phrases, again sink into their intention or heartfelt meaning. Imagine your kind thoughts reaching the group you are concerned for and the group receiving your love and kindness.

Lastly, bring your attention to yourself. Slowly repeat phrases of loving-kindness toward your own being:

May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease.

While you say these phrases, allow yourself to sink into the intentions they express.  As an aid to the meditation, you might hold an image of yourself in your mind’s eye. This helps reinforce the intentions expressed in the phrases.

 

Support in a pandemicI wish you happiness, wellness, safety and peace at this very surreal and stressful time. Stay home if you can and wash your hands. If you’re looking for support during this time in the form of therapy, I am available online. Please feel free to call or email me.

 

 

 

 

Kate Murphy - Psychotherapist in Chamblee, GAKate Murphy, LCSW

Kate Murphy, a therapist in Chamblee, GA, specializes in helping you decrease stress and anxiety. You can live a more balanced, connected, and meaningful life. Kate works with individuals and couples over the age of 18 to support healing, communicating, and experiencing joy more often.

 

 

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