According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the country is experiencing a resurgence of COVID-10 infections. A recommendation has given to keep gatherings small and travel only as necessary. With the holidays approaching, this can leave many feeling lonely and fearful. The lead therapist at the Sharp Mesa Vista Post-Traumatic Stress disorder and Trauma Recovery Program, Kim Eisenberg, suggests that we find tangible and realistic ways to have meaningful experiences this year, even if we can’t be surrounded physically by those with whom we normally celebrate. “We are lifted up and out of our own suffering when we do things that are helpful to others,” she said. Ms. Eisenberg suggests finding some meaningful service to offset some of the loneliness and isolation. She says others would benefit by remembering the 4 M’s: Mindfulness, Meaningful Connection, Movement, and Mastery.
Mindfulness is the awareness that emerges through paying attention and working to stay focused in the present moment. It includes self-care, which involves not letting our minds get side-tracked by strong emotions. If anxiety starts to set in, practice deep-breathing and take time to see clearly the situation. Mindfulness helps us know how best to proceed with compassion towards ourselves and others.
Every single person needs connection and needs to be known. A meaningful connection includes being emotionally vulnerable and open with someone, showing them affection and receiving it in return. People love to know that someone cares. We need to meaningfully connect in marriage, friendship, and other relationships with our children and neighbors. This can happen by text, email, phone call, mail, or video chats. Reach out when you want to connect, check in on someone you care about. Most people have the desire to connect meaningfully. If you haven’t found someone who does, keep looking!
Any type of movement or stretching that you can do in the comfort of your home or yard, helps alleviate negative feelings and emotions. It improves balance, coordination and flexibility, increases oxygen to the brain, and decreases risk of osteoporosis.
Don’t forget brain health. Taking care of your brain is just as important as taking care of your body. Try your hand at puzzles, word searches, crosswords, memorizing, and other brain games. These activities will help stimulate attention, verbal fluency, memory, and other cognitive functions.