Week Sixty-Four

My Favorite Bit of Information From The Week:

COVID- 19 and Mental Health

As you all know, we are in a unique time for mental health right now. Some folks (nurses, grocers, mail workers, transit workers, garbage truck workers – just to name a few) are still functioning in the world to keep us all afloat. While others of us are totally out of work, or perhaps working from home and dealing with isolation in various ways. Wherever you may be today, know that you are not alone and you are loved.

We all handle times of stress like this differently. It’s not uncommon to have folks with mental illness or P.T.S.D feel more stable during uncertain times, their minds are wired for disaster and there can be almost a calming affect when we all come together in unison to respond. My past post on P.T.S.D speaks to this. 

While others dealing with mental illness might hit an all time rough patch, addiction is especially challenging in isolation,anxiety and depression can also become more extreme. It’s worth noting that isolation can happen even if you are going to work right now. Having to go to work when many people you know do not, and seeing very few people as you make your normal travels is its own brand of isolation. 
A Few Things That Help:

Whatever your day may look like right now, here are a few recommendations from the CDC, as well as a few things that have been working for me at this time. 

1. Stay informed, information can calm panic. Regularly checking  the CDC’s update page, or listening to this podcast by Joe Rogan with disease specialists Michael Osterholm (an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology) are options I found helpful. The Rogan interview was especially nice, I still felt like I was getting some human time while learning.

2. Keep to a schedule as much as is possible. I tried one day of going out of my schedule and I got panicky and felt very overwhelmed. Getting dressed and keeping a schedule, or doing physical activities in your home can be helpful. Setting up exercise dates throughout the day with friends over the phone (doing ten push-ups together at a designated time), or doing a yoga video online (yoga with Adrienne is one of my all time favorites, you don’t need any props and she is lovely). My previous post on yoga is applicable here, it can be very helpful in times of high stress. If you are working, and you can keep your normal morning routine in some way it can be helpful – have a cup of coffee, or enjoy a walk before work, really enjoy your shower. 

3. Find something each day you can look forward to. For me it’s a warm beverage, tea or coffee, a walk, singing (even humming to yourself can be very soothing because it calms your vagus nerve along your spine), or taking time to be creative in the day. Keeping enjoyment in your world can be key. 

4. Keep in contact with people. As I said, isolation can be occurring wherever you may be right now. Take time to call folks if you have access to a phone, or schedule a walk with a great deal of distance between you. Find time to support one another through interaction. If you are largely an introvert and thriving right now (as my partner Benjamin is doing) keep in mind to take care of yourself in other ways.

If you don’t have anyone you feel cozy reaching out to right now, know I am available. please just email me and I can give you a call. Or, there are a few key hotlines that are offering warming conversations right now for folks who need to talk. The National Alliance on Mental Health has posted this article, with warming lines, financial assistance if your business has shut down, and much much more. I highly recommend checking it out.  

Other Resources: For more detailed response, how to support children in this time, what to do if you are sick, so forth, I found this article from the CDC very helpful. It’s worth a read if you have the time either way. 

There is no clean and cut response on how to handle this, so remember to keep calm, be kind to one another, and reach out if you need help. It’s O.K not to be O.K. 
I’ll leave you with a song this week 

Update On My Show:

One Woman Hamlet performed at Nasty, Brutish & Short: A Puppet Cabaret this past Monday via Facebook live! If you are on Facebook and want a magical puppet break, Rough House Theater has been kind enough to leave it up.


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