By Becky Murray, CVT, MA, LCPC —
Hello from Veterinary Specialty Center’s Counselor’s Corner! This is Becky, hoping that you are all staying safe and healthy. I’m going to be sharing some thoughts with you about coping with the stress of COVID-19. I’ll also be providing some helpful links to resources you can use, and I will continue posting those as I find them.
You are probably feeling some degree of anxiety right now. Most of us are. I have to do work every day to minimize my anxiety. The good news is that it’s possible to decrease anxiety! I’m going to talk about some coping techniques with you. But before I do that, I want to encourage you to reach out to a mental health professional (MHP) or your primary care physician (PCP) if your anxiety is preventing you from functioning. Most MHPs and PCPs have implemented social distancing measures that allow them to see patients remotely. If you need to find an MHP, the “find a therapist” tool at www.psychologytoday.com is a great resource. If you are feeling extremely overwhelmed, please talk to someone.
Here are some quick tips for managing anxiety. I’ll expand on these at a later date.
- Take care of yourself. Self-care is really important right now!
- Get your news from reliable sources, like The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at www.cdc.gov or The World Health Organization (WHO) at www.who.int.
- Limit the number of times you check the news each day.
- Try to stay in the present. If you find yourself worrying about what might happen in the future, gently redirect your mind to something happening right now. As much as you can, take things one day at a time.
- Think about what you can control right now, and direct your concern to those things.
- Connect with others any way you can. Social distancing does not have to mean isolation. Use Face Time, Skype, Zoom, or other forums to talk with people you love.
- Get outside. Shelter in place does not mean you have to be in the house all the time. I know it’s chilly, but take walks, go for a hike, take a bike ride, or run around your yard. As long as you practice 6-foot distancing from anyone you see, you can be outside.
- Help others. There are lots of ways to give back and take care of others without breaking social distancing, and helping others promote good mental health.
Becky Murray is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) that counsels clients of VSC and our referral community on pet loss, quality of life decisions for pets and grief. She also lectures extensively in the veterinary community on Compassion Fatigue. You may reach Becky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-499-5700. More information about our services may be found here.