Tag: COVID-19

Existential Concerns and the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has had incredibly devastating and often lasting impacts both globally and on an individual scale. For some, it has even provoked a sense of chaos, making it increasingly challenging to make sense of the world. Historically, philosophers have tried to answer questions about the meaning of life and what our purpose might be as human beings. Existential psychology, which is rooted in philosophy, allows individuals to explore themes such as freedom, responsibility, and the search for meaning. It encourages us to grapple with the concerns of existence, including the existential dread and angst- states of anguish, despair, and insecurity related to the central existential themes- which are part and parcel of the human experience. You may be familiar with the more common term, “existential crisis,” which can cause symptoms of depression and anxiety. Below, I outline the ways in which the pandemic can give rise to existential concerns and how we may overcome them:

Dealing with Loss and the Finitude of Life

For those who had not faced the loss of a loved one before, it is likely that the pandemic had you worrying about the health of someone you care about or even worse, grieving the loss of a loved one. At some point in our lives, we are forced to contend with the fact that our existence is finite. This can induce anxiety, as we think about the close bonds or attachments we do not want to let go of, the people we do not want to leave behind, and the limited time we have to see out our life goals. It is normal to be deeply affected by these experiences or even the mere idea of them. It is important that we allow ourselves to feel the full spectrum of emotions that ensues from loss or anticipatory grief (feelings of grief associated with knowing that you are losing a loved one). In these difficult moments, there are unique opportunities to let people in our lives know how we feel about them and to help them understand the profound impact they have had on us. Furthermore, the pandemic has prompted us to reflect on what we value in life, which may lead us to alter our priorities. We can use these difficult experiences as a way to deepen our connections, reflect on who or what matters most to us, and to make significant changes that we may have been putting off, such as spending an hour less working in order to spend quality time with family.

Isolation

Prior to the pandemic, many of us led eventful lives with little time to spare. Although the pandemic gave us the opportunity to press the pause button on life, it has also kept us apart from our loved ones: grandparents who were not able to spend time with beloved grandchildren, groups of friends no longer planning get-togethers, or travel restrictions preventing people from visiting family in different parts of the world. These are a few examples of how we could no longer connect with others in ways that we are accustomed to or perhaps even took for granted before the term social distancing was even part of our vocabulary. The positive side of this is that we may now have a greater appreciation for those who enrich our lives when we are lucky enough to spend time with them. During quarantine, we were able to bear witness to the interconnectedness we all crave and need, as video calls became part of our daily routines. The pandemic showed us how resourceful we can be when it comes to staying connected, as we learned to grow our online communities, become friendlier with our neighbors, and forged deeper bonds with coworkers who could relate to our hardships.

Managing Uncertainty

For those of us who thrive in structured environments and value stability, the year 2020 certainly took a toll on our well-being. Even for those who appreciate spontaneity, the overwhelming sense of unpredictability has been challenging to navigate. We have had to manage frequent changes in the way we perform our jobs or attend school, how we socialize with others, the way we travel, and the way we manage our health, to name a few. This has made it abundantly clear that change can happen when we least expect it, forcing us to adapt. Although this can make us feel uneasy, it is worthwhile to learn to deal with change, which is a constant in life. When things feel or are out of our control, what we can do is shift our focus to what we do have control over. This could translate to practicing a balanced routine where we provide ourselves with the structure we need, such as setting work hours if we are working remotely, eating healthier, setting aside time for physical activity, engaging in fulfilling activities or hobbies, and staying connected with others in some capacity. It is also critical that we practice acceptance, one of the many attitudes of mindfulness. We can do this by establishing some sort of breathing or meditation practice or with a positive affirmation, all of which can help us feel grounded despite the lack of certainty.

These unexpected and sudden changes have caused us to ask profound questions and perhaps compelled us to find the subjective meaning in our lives. Despite the vicissitudes of this pandemic, we can reflect on our growth and find the inadvertent improvements to our quality of life. If you are having difficulty doing so or want to further explore these existential concerns in a supportive therapeutic setting, seeking therapists who practice from a humanistic-existential framework may be beneficial. You may also want to read books that deal with existential topics, such as Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning.

References

Bland, A. M. (2020). Existential Givens in the COVID-19 Crisis. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 60(5), 710–724. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022167820940186

Koole, Sander. (2010). Existential Psychology. 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0329.

Price, M. (2011, November). Searching for meaning. Monitor on Psychology, 42(10). 

 http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/11/meaning

 

Yalom, I. (1980). Existential psychotherapy. New York: Basic Books.

Long-Haul COVID-19: What We Know, and What We Don’t

Written by: Delia Silva, PsyD, ABPP-CN

What is Long-Haul COVID?

“Long-Haul COVID” is a term that has been used extensively in the media to describe people who have experienced persisting physical, cognitive, or emotional symptoms for months following recovery from the acute phase of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) infection. The reported symptoms have included: “brain fog,” sleep problems, temperature dysregulation, gastrointestinal problems, tachycardia with mild exercise or standing (Vanderlind et al., 2021) dizziness, headache, generalized aches or pain, and loss of smell or taste (Broche-Perez & Medina-Navarro, 2021).  While we may hear about “long-haulers” a lot in the news or may even know people who have experienced these symptoms, there continues to be very little scientific research about this phenomenon. The purpose of this blog article is to summarize what we do know, so far (as of August 2021), about the scientific underpinnings of long-haul COVID-19, particularly with brain functioning.

How Might COVID-19 Affect the Brain?

The way in which the SARS-CoV-2 virus might actually affect the brain is still largely unknown, but there are three main theories:

Cerebrovascular Ischemia:

What appears to be prominent in the scientific studies that have found neurological changes in COVID-19 patients is that these particular patients have had severe respiratory symptoms during the acute infection that required hospitalization, and in most cases, intubation. Additionally, people who are at risk for experiencing severe COVID-19-related symptoms tend to be older in age or have medical co-morbidities, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, which also increases their risk of having a stroke. People who require medical ventilation are at higher risk of experiencing hypoxia, or a lack of oxygen to the brain. There is insufficient research to state that the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself causes strokes or hypoxia. There are hypotheses that require further research about the virus leading to constricting of small blood vessels that could potentially lead to cerebrovascular events.

Secondary Neuroinflammatory Response:

There continues to be a lack of research with this theory, but the hypothesis is that the body’s immune system goes into overdrive to fight off the COVID-19 virus and produces a maladaptive inflammatory response cause more harm to the body’s tissue and organs, maybe more so than the virus itself. Essentially, the immune system may go into overdrive and attack the healthy body tissue. We know this happens with autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and lupus.

Direct Viral Infection of the Brain:

The evidence for this is still sparse, but there is a theory that the virus may enter the brain through the olfactory pathways in the brain. Loss of smell is a very common symptom reported by patients experiencing a COVID-19 infection, regardless of the severity of other symptoms (deMaria et al., 2020; Voruz et al., 2021). Some mainstream magazines have recently mentioned that the COVID-19 virus appears to specifically attack astrocytes (a specific type of brain cell involved in many “worker” functions), particularly within the limbic system (Douaud et al., 2021). However, those studies have not yet gone through the peer-review process required for publication into scientific journals, and therefore should be looked at with extra scrutiny.

Cognitive Functioning

There are very limited neuropsychological studies examining the neuropsychological profiles for COVID-19 patients at the present time, and the few studies that are available inconsistently exclude people from the sample that might have pre-existing cognitive impairment.

However, what does appear to be emerging from the research is that persisting cognitive symptoms appears to be most prevalent in COVID-19 survivors who have had severe symptoms that required hospitalization. This group of people was at higher risk for experiencing delirium, strokes, and hypoxia. People who experienced delirium during their hospitalization appear to be at highest risk for having persisting cognitive impairment (Burdick & Millett., 2021).

One meta-analytic study (Vanderlind et al., 2021) combined the results of 26 studies and determined that approximately 15-40% of the total participants who underwent formal neuropsychological testing were documented as having abnormal cognitive performance, 10-105 days following hospital discharge. Compared to matched controls, there were significant differences in performance on measures of sustained attention, executive functioning, visuospatial processing, attention, memory, and language. All of these participants had been hospitalized with severe COVID-19 symptoms. Patients who were treated in the ICU and required oxygen therapy were found to have lower scores across most cognitive domains.

On studies that solely looked at self-reported or observer-reported questionnaires that were collected 4-15 weeks after hospital discharge or recovery from the acute phase of COVID-19, approximately 25% reported cognitive complaints (de Graaf et. Al, 2021). People who had medical co-morbidities tended to report problems with concentration and memory loss more often (Mannan et al., 2021).

One study showed that poor cognitive performance was correlated with increased inflammatory markers (Zhou et. Al, 2020).

Psychiatric Symptoms

Psychiatric symptoms are commonly seen in COVID-19 survivors, regardless of the severity of the COVID-19 illness or if they were hospitalized. In some studies, people who had mild COVID-19 infections actually reported having higher levels of depression, stress, anxiety, and reported more cognitive complaints that people who had more severe COVID-19 symptoms (Vanderlind et al., 2021).

Depression

Approximately 10-42% of patients who were previously hospitalized due to COVID-19 reported moderate to severe depression, two to three months following discharge. Survivors reporting the most severe levels of depressive symptoms tended to have a prior psychiatric history (Vanderlind et al., 2021).

Similarly, in COVID-19 survivors who were not hospitalized, depression ranged from 15-68%. Risk factors for depression in those groups included female gender, older age, and decreased sense of smell (Vanderlind et al., 2021).

Anxiety

Across 25 studies, clinically significant anxiety symptoms ranged anywhere from 5 to 55.2% of COVID-19 patients. Risk factors for anxiety included: COVID-19 illness severity, co-morbid medical conditions, reduced quality of life, persistent shortness of breath, younger age, having close relatives with COVID-19, having a decreased sense of smell, and having a prior psychiatric history (Vanderlind et al., 2021).

Anxiety related to COVID-19 may be related to the unknowns of the disease process, as we simply still don’t know what to expect. This lack of information about the virus leading to frequent changes in public policies and the emergence of conspiracy theories and “alternative facts” certainly do not help the collective mental health for our society! More in-depth discussion about the day-to-day impact of the pandemic on our mental health can be seen in other articles in our blog series.

Stress most definitely has an impact on the brain and body. The stress response is mediated by the pathways between the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal gland (“HPA axis”) which sends signals to the body to activate our primitive “fight-or-flight response” while inhibiting our ability to activate our higher-order thinking skills. The high rate of stress in individuals who have experienced COVID-19 infections may be a factor in the cognitive difficulties reported in the long-haulers.

Fatigue

Fatigue following severe COVID-19 infection appears to be the most common finding, with 40-69% of COVID-19 survivors endorsing ongoing fatigue that interfered with their quality of life, two to three months after hospital discharge (Vanderlind et al., 2021).

Sleep

On one study, about 26% of COVID-19 survivors reported persisting sleep difficulties, six months after being discharged from the hospital (Huang et al., 2021).

What Can We Do Now?

Overall, there’s still a lot more to learn about the long-term effects of COVID-19, particularly on people who have experienced mild cases of COVID-19 without severe respiratory distress. While the medical science is still figuring out the biological effects of the virus on the body and the brain, it appears that reducing inflammation may be a goal in treating long-haul COVID-19 symptoms. Nutrition should certainly not be ignored, as it is known that specific foods can lead to inflammation and others can help to reduce it. Meeting with a registered dietitian to determine an optimal diet is something to consider. Likewise, depression, anxiety, and chronic stress is known to have a physical impact on the body by mechanism of increased production of stress hormones and neurotransmitters (Vogelzangs et al., 2013; Salim et al., 2012). Therefore, psychological treatment for anxiety or depression should be considered as an essential part of a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment of persisting COVID-19 symptoms. Of course, following up with your primary care physician and recommended medical specialists while you continue to experience physical symptoms is recommended to obtain the latest treatment as the science develops.

 

References:

Almeria M, Cejudo JC, Sotoca J, et al. . Cognitive profile following COVID-19 infection: clinical predictors leading to neuropsychological impairment. Brain Behav Immun Health 2020; 9:100163.

Burdick, K. E., & Millett, C. E. (2021). The impact of COVID-19 on cognition in severe cases highlights the need for comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations in all survivors. Neuropsychopharmacology, 1-1.

de Graaf MA, Antoni ML, Ter Kuile MM, et al. . Short-term outpatient follow-up of COVID-19 patients: a multidisciplinary approach. EClinicalMedicine 2021; 32:100731.

De Maria, A., Varese, P., Dentone, C., Barisione, E., & Bassetti, M. (2020). High prevalence of olfactory and taste disorder during SARS-CoV-2 infection in outpatients. Journal of medical virology, 92(11), 2310–2311.

Douaud, G., Lee, S., Alfaro-Almagro, F., Arthofer, C., Wang, C., Lange, F., … & Smith, S. M. (2021). Brain imaging before and after COVID-19 in UK Biobank. medRxiv.

Mannan A, Mehedi HMH, Chy N, et al. . A multicentre, cross-sectional study on coronavirus disease 2019 in Bangladesh: clinical epidemiology and short-term outcomes in recovered individuals. New Microbes New Infect 2021; 40:100838.

Mazza MG, De Lorenzo R, Conte C, Poletti S, Vai B, Bollettini I, Melloni EMT, Furlan R, Ciceri F, Rovere-Querini P, COVID-19 BioB Outpatient Clinic Study group., Benedetti F Brain Behav Immun. 2020 Oct; 89():594-600.

Medina-Navarro, C. M. (2021). Neuropsychological & Cognitive Sequelae in COVID-19 Patients. MEDICC review23(2), 78.

Namdar, P., Mojabi, N. A., & Mojabi, B. (2021). Neuropsychological and Psychosocial Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Neurophysiology, 1-10.

Salim, S., Chugh, G., & Asghar, M. (2012). Inflammation in anxiety. Advances in protein chemistry and structural biology88, 1-25.

Vanderlind, W. M., Rabinovitz, B. B., Miao, I. Y., Oberlin, L. E., Bueno-Castellano, C., Fridman, C., … & Kanellopoulos, D. (2021). A systematic review of neuropsychological and psychiatric sequalae of COVID-19: implications for treatment. Current opinion in psychiatry34(4), 420. 

Vogelzangs, N., Beekman, A. T. F., De Jonge, P., & Penninx, B. W. J. H. (2013). Anxiety disorders and inflammation in a large adult cohort. Translational psychiatry3(4), e249-e249.

Voruz, P., Allali, G., Benzakour, L., Nuber-Champier, A., Thomasson, M., Jacot, I., … & Peron, J. A. (2021). Long COVID neuropsychological deficits after severe, moderate or mild infection. medRxiv.

Zhou H, Lu S, Chen J, et al. . The landscape of cognitive function in recovered COVID-19 patients. J Psychiatr Res 2020; 129:98–102.

Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic Series: Work-Life Balance, Going From Survival Back to Thriving

Written By: Angela J. Patino, Psy.D.

 

The future is unwritten, 2020 is history, and one way we can improve our present is by reflecting on the lessons learned thus far. The following PNBC blog series will focus on highlighting lessons learned from the pandemic, with an emphasis on mental health.

 

While we continue to recover from the whirlwind year of 2020, the increased vaccination rates have a provided our communities a pivotal moment in the pandemic. Of course, in no way is the pandemic quite over, yet, the aftershocks are still very present. However, many states have re-opened, schools are expected to resume in-person this fall, and the employment sector is in a hiring/rehiring spree. Some individuals never stopped working – hats off to all essential workers! Some are slowly getting back into the grind. While others are trying to figure out their return to work. Whichever position you find yourself in, IT IS OK. Remember the year we all just had?

 

One of the first crossroads that many individuals faced at the start of the pandemic was maintaining a work-life balance. Now, maintaining a work-life balance was already a tough task for most, even before the pandemic. Combining the promoted work culture of high productivity, eating meals on the go, long work hours, and answering emails after hours, is a recipe for disaster. For many, especially for parents of school-aged children, this balance continues to remain in “survival mode.” As we enter a different phase of the pandemic, a new normalcy is settling in, and this work-life balance needs to switch back to a “thriving mode” for the sake of our mental health. The following recommendations bring light to different aspects of our day-to-day work environment and interactions that can be used to help achieve a more aligned work-life balance and decrease burnout.

Time management

What are your working hours? Are you sticking to them or running over time more often than not? Do you take your meal break or eat on the go? It is important to give yourself enough time to complete your duties and set appropriate resting points. Prioritize tasks into urgent vs non-urgent. If you find yourself frequently having trouble meeting deadlines, this may be a sign that you are doing too much and there may be a need for delegation.

Assertive communication

In connection to the last point, if you have too much on your plate, speak up! Being assertive in the workplace is vital as it allows you to speak your mind, share your ideas, express your needs, and wants in an effective, respectful, and clear manner. Hostile work environments feed on passivity and aggression. Assertive communication is a great way to place boundaries, which brings us to the next point.

Place healthy boundaries

From your labor rights to professional etiquette, learn when to say no. Prioritize what is important to you. Is staying an extra hour worth missing out on _______? The same can be applied at home, do you feel overwhelmed with household chores, can some duties be delegated to a partner or roommate?

Let go of perfectionism

Do you have perfectionist tendencies? Perfectionism is difficult to achieve, and someone who takes pride in perfecting their craft, may have difficulty clocking out. This often leads to long work hours with limited personal time, a perfect combination for burnout. A great read for embracing imperfection is “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brené Brown (link: https://brenebrown.com/thegifts-hub/#close-popup).

Make time for exercise

The documented benefits of exercise are exhaustive; no, really just do an engine search! A healthy body = clarity in mind = improved mood = better you. Prioritize your exercise as if your health depended on it.

Relaxation

What do you practice to promote relaxation? Yoga, meditation, music or just deep breathing exercises help us recharge and obtain mind clarity.

Sleep

Are you getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep? Or are you answering emails during your usual bedtime? Similar to exercise, sleep is crucial to our overall health.

Nurturing relationships outside of work

Positive social support is also important to our mental health. Research has shown that social support helps ward off the effects of stress on depression, anxiety, and other health problems; this is especially so for women and older adults (Cohen, 2004; Harandi et al., 2017). People found creative ways to maintain social contact during the pandemic, be it through a glass door, parking lot car-meal meet-ups, or videoconferencing calls. Human nature calls for human connection.

Time-off

This year brought unprecedented times in more ways than we can count. Even taking just one day off to unwind and detach from work can have positive effects on your mental health. It is important to realize when it is time to “take a break, before you break.”

Seek professional help

If you find yourself struggling to maintain a work-life balance, especially through the pandemic, you are not alone. None of us could have predicted the challenges that have come our way this year. Ensuring your mental health is being managed properly is important. If you think that talking to a mental health professional about your struggles may benefit you, PNBC is here to help.

 

The following hotlines also provide free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: English 1-800-273-8255; Spanish 1-888-628-9454

San Diego Access and Crisis Line: 1-888-724-7240

 

References:

Cohen, S. (2004). Social relationships and health. American Psychologist, 674-84.

Harandi, T., Taghinasab, M., & Nayeri, T. (2017). The correlation of social support with mental health: A meta-analysis. Electronic physician, 9(9), 5212–5222. https://doi.org/10.19082/5212

Hart, S. (2020). The Differences Between America’s Working Culture and the Rest of the World. The National Digest. Retrieved from https://thenationaldigest.com/the-differences-between-americas-working-culture-and-the-rest-of-the-world/

Coping with Hospital Stays During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the country begins the process of re-opening and lifting some restrictions, we find many activities are resuming. These include medical procedures that may have been postponed, as hospitals and medical facilities everywhere braced and prepared for treating individuals with COVID-19 back in March. If you are one of many patients who are being scheduled for procedures and treatments that require hospitalization, you and your family members are probably being confronted with the likelihood that no one will be allowed to enter the hospital with you, or stay with you during recovery. Medical care facilities around the country are implementing strict policies that ban visitors to try and limit the spread and risk of COVID-19 within their facilities, and there is no sign that these restrictions will be lifted in the near future.

 

Getting medical treatments that require hospital stays are generally anxiety producing for patients and their loved ones. If we add to this that they will likely need to go through this without a support person by their side, and the added concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is to be expected that patients and their loved ones will experience and increase in worry and anxiety.

Here are some tips that may help decrease some of those worries and anxiety:

 

  • You and your family can inquire as to what precautions are in place to protect patients from COVID, if this is something that you are feeling concerned about. Going into the situation as informed as possible will help you and your loved ones feel more in control and less anxious, setting you up for a better experience.
  • Ensure your family knows who and where to call for information if they are unable to reach you, to help decrease their concern and worry. If they feel more at ease, there is less opportunity that you will be impacted by their anxiety too.
  • Set up reliable communication. Make sure you have a phone, a charger, headphones (if allowed) and that you know how to use them all. If possible, make use of video calls to communicate with your loved ones- you may find they bring more emotional connection and comfort than voice calls or text messages alone.
  • Pack some activities that your doctor pre-approves, and you enjoy, to keep yourself entertained during your stay. Crossword puzzles, art, reading material, or a smart device with downloaded (in case streaming is not possible) shows, movies or games, are some examples. The more entertained you are, the less time you will have to focus on worries or being alone.
  • Be prepared to implement some relaxation techniques during your stay, to use when you feel the need. Some examples are listening to your favorite music, breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, grounding techniques and visualization.
  • If permitted, pack some of your favorite, doctor-approved, non-perishable snacks to enjoy as you recover.
  • Remember that some anxiety around medical procedures and hospital stays is completely normal. Tell yourself this to prevent being critical of yourself or putting yourself down for having these emotions. Instead, focus on taking care of yourself, being kind to yourself and implementing positive coping tools to help you manage these feelings.
  • Sleep! Rest is an important part of recovery. If you find yourself having trouble sleeping, practice some of the relaxation techniques mentioned above. If allowed, come prepared with essential oils that may help you wind down, or request a permitted caffeine free tea to enjoy.

Before implementing any of the above suggestions, be sure to discuss these with your doctor, to ensure everything you want to implement is allowed by the medical facility and approved by your physician. During times of high stress or anxiety, you can help manage how you are feeling by focusing on what you are able to control, such as seeking helpful and necessary information, and implementing tools that help you feel more calm. Keep in mind that the treatment you are receiving is meant to help your body and improve your health outlook, and you will soon be reunited with your loved ones. As the saying goes, “this too shall pass”.

Written by Taina Aceves, LMFT. Ms. Aceves is currently accepting therapy patients via telehealth at Pacific Neurobehavioral Clinic, PC.

 

neuropsychology and psychology clinic

Tips on Managing COVID-19 Anxiety

The world is collectively living through an event unlike any other experienced during our lifetimes. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we are living our lives. We are living in daily uncertainty, facing something largely unknown to us still, in constant concern over our health and the health of our loved ones, and for some, grief as well as added stress and pressure over finances and meeting our basic needs. All of this while being stuck at home (in some states and countries) and having limited or no access to our support systems (friends, family and other loved ones) and the places and activities we enjoy; it is the perfect recipe for increased mental health symptoms and needs.   

Thankfully, many people can continue to access mental health services via telehealth* (see below for more information). In addition to mental health services, self-Care is something you can do at home to help relieve anxiety, stress and other mental health symptoms you may be experiencing as a result of the pandemic and social distancing regulations.   

Self-care can be defined as things we do that we enjoy and help us relax. These are unique to each individual, but here are some examples of self-care:   

  • Having a video call with your friends and family 
  • Watching a movie or show that brings you positive emotions 
  • Engaging in a creative outlet of your choice 
  • Taking a relaxing bath 
  • Aromatherapy 
  • Reading enjoyable books 
  • Having a virtual book-club 
  • Meditating 
  • Cooking 
  • Getting restful sleep 
  • Playing games 
  • Practicing yoga 
  • Exercising 
  • Getting outdoors, safely, while practicing social distancing and following your local regulations 
  • Skincare 
  • Listening to music 
  • Playing instruments 

It is easy to forget about practicing self-care, so it is important to schedule it into our days. A minimum of one self-care activity a day is recommendable, particularly during high stress or high anxiety times, such as the one we are currently living through.  

First, you can create a growing list of things or activities that are enjoyable and relaxing for you. Then, create a weekly schedule of self-care based on those activities, or, alternatively, pick one activity from that list every morning, to engage in on that day. Writing down or sharing your plan with someone can help you commit and follow through. Having a self-care buddy, even a virtual one, with whom to practice self-care, can also help you follow through and hold yourself accountable, in addition to potentially making the activity more enjoyable. You can face-mask with your friend via FaceTime, do online gaming with a loved one or work out with a buddy, for example. Get creative and make it fun! Practice self-care consistently, on a daily basis, and notice what difference this makes for your mental health. Taking care of ourselves is always important, and even more so when going through difficult times. Make the time to do this, as much as possible, to reap the benefits.    

*You can reach out to your health insurance, medical care provider or mental health care provider, to inquire about telehealth services. You can also search for mental health providers that offer telehealth via Psychology Today or Therapy Den. We are currently accepting new telehealth patients at PNBC.  

 

Additionally, here are some mental health resources available free of cost: 

Disaster Distress Helpline 1 (800) 985-5990 (también disponible en Español) 

Access & Crisis Line 1 (888) 724-7240 (también disponible en Español) 

2-1-1 San Diego Dial 2-1-1 from any phone (también disponible en Español) 

San Diego County Behavioral Health Resources 

 

Additional stress coping tips can be found on the CDC website.

 

Written by Taina Aceves, LMFT.