An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates
Volume 15, Number 4
(Photo by Amina Filkins)
With the number of people being vaccinated and the venues reopening, it appears that we are well on the way to emerging from the pandemic. Like the flu, Covid 19 may always be with us in some form. Yet we get our flu shots and have learned to live with it. We may have to do the same with Covid. Never the less, restaurants, theme parks, beaches, and gathering places are busy. Life seems to be moving towards the new normal.
However, there are many people who are still concerned about going out and socializing. They remain anxious and worried and hesitant to go anywhere. If you are worried, this month’s E-Letter offers some strategies about Emerging From The Pandemic.
KimmelPsychology has provided a monthly E-Letter for over 15 years, that is educational, informative, and helpful. Topics change every month but the format remains the same; brief information about the topic as well as suggestions for improvement. The topic of interest can be downloaded and used as a handout or a “tip sheet”.
Downloads of this handout and others from our previous E-Letters can be found on our website, KimmelPsychology/e_Letters. We encourage you to read and download them. You are invited to email your thoughts to Dr. Kimmel at [email protected]
Make sure to read the latest blog addition near the end of this E-Letter.
We are pleased to announce that Dr. Camille Benitto, Psy.D. has joined our practice. Dr. Benitto is a Clinical Psychologist who has been providing therapy for over seven years. While she likes to work with young adults, she has experience working with children, adults, and couples. She takes an empathetic approach and is intentional about creating a safe, nonjudgmental space to meet clients in whatever stage of their therapeutic journey. Using evidenced-based techniques, her work promotes insight and empowerment of her clients to achieve their therapeutic goals. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Benitto, call our office at 954 755-2885.
KimmelPsychology has committed ourselves to being available for anyone who is in need of support, therapy, psychiatric consultation, professional coaching, and online psychological and psychoeducational evaluations. We practice telehealth and have recently returned to safe, in-office visits on a limited basis. We can be reached by calling our office at 954 755-2885 or by going to the Our Staff page on our website, KimmelPsychology.com.
We frequently post news and articles on our KimmelPsychology Facebook page. Be sure to like us and read our articles.
EMERGING FROM THE PANDEMIC!
(Photo by Priscilla Du Preez)
The coronavirus has caused great devastation to people all over the world. It arrived quickly, brought the world to a halt, and caused great suffering and grief. Thankfully, scientists all over the world worked to bring us different vaccines to provide us with protection so that our lives can return to a semblance of normal. Many have been vaccinated and feel a sense of relief. There are those, however, who don’t believe in the vaccine and refuse to get it for a variety of reasons.
Besides death and illness, mental health damage has been huge. People are still quite anxious and isolate themselves. Many are depressed, fearful, lonely, and stressed out. Some have not left their homes in over a year. The positive effects of in-person contact and support have largely been absent. We are in a mental health crisis that is expected to get larger. Adolescent suicides and domestic violence have increased. The divorce rate is high and many people have become polarized and angry. We have been going through a global trauma that has overwhelmed us and we must recover.
Life for many people is becoming active again. It is important psychologically for us to feel safe, secure, capable, and somewhat in control of our lives. As people, we need to overcome our anxiety, eliminate our depression, and reduce our stress. This involves taking control of our lives. We need to figure out what makes us feel safe and secure. We need to develop strategies to function as our world begins to open up. We need to adapt to the changes brought on by Covid and adjust to them.
In this e-Letter, we recommend two strategies as we emerge from the pandemic: setting boundaries and reframing your thinking. Setting and maintaining boundaries will help you to feel safe and develop trust. By communicating your boundaries to others, you will do only what you want to do and will not be influenced by others. It is empowering and will prevent you from being exposed to others who may not be safe. Setting boundaries will allow you to stay within your comfort zone even as you go out into the new normal.
By reframing your thinking, you have an opportunity to reflect what life was like before and during the pandemic. How were you affected? Were you lonelier, more depressed, more anxious or did you find ways to cope with the coronavirus? Did you make promises to yourself that you would change once you could? Reframing your thinking involves accepting the life we have and truly making the most of it rather than “awfulizing” about how bad it is. Keep in touch with family and friends. Call those people you haven’t spoken to in a while. Learn a new skill. Exercise and socially connect with other in any way you are comfortable. Be flexible and focus on living your life with joy.
We offer the following information on: Emerging From The Pandemic! This information can be downloaded as a handout at KimmelPsychology e-Letters.
EMERGING FROM THE PANDEMIC!
But someday soon, things will open up. Get back to normal.
Kids around the world, will be free again.
Then you will see, All of your friends, Your family, And everyone.
Someday soon … Ari Gunzburg
WHAT TO KNOW!
- Globally, due to the pandemic, people are reporting higher rates of loneliness, anxiety, depression, stress, PTSD, and other psychological pain
- The pandemic, like trauma, has overwhelmed people both mentally as well as physically
- The absence of in-person social connections is well known to be one of the strongest detractors of positive mental health
- Returning to the work may be quite stressful as employees may questions whether they and their co-workers/students are safe. In addition, they may feel some discomfort of traveling to the office/school, having to get dressed, etc.
- Recovery from the pandemic involves establishing a personal sense of safety and security
- Returning to work will require each employee and employer to be understanding, flexible, open, and accommodating as we have all experienced major changes in our lives
- Personally, everyone has/will have different ways of handling situations and activities; each person must decide for themselves what their risk level and vaccination status are
- One strategy is to set boundaries; this is critical as places and activities begin to open up
- In order to set boundaries:
- People must decide what makes them feel safe both physically and emotionally
- They then need to decide what activities they will/won’t do. For example: Will they continue to wear a mask if they have already been vaccinated?
- Finally, people need to tell others their boundaries and maintain them if challenged
- Another strategy is to reframe your thinking:
- Consider how your life was affected
- Recognize who and what you lost and missed
- Make positive changes: appreciate relationships and other aspects of life
WHAT TO DO!
- As mentioned above, set boundaries and reframe your thinking
- Practice mindfulness and experience each moment
- Gradually have social interactions with people who you think are safe
- Meet up with family and close friends whom you know have your level of safety
- Continue to wear a mask and social distance in situations that you think are unsafe
- Make the changes in your life you said would make when the pandemic is over
- Seek professional help if you remain anxious, depressed, or lonely