Tips for Thriving During Quarantine

Seize the OpportunityMENTAL HEALTH WELLNESS TIPS FOR QUARANTINE

Here are some excellent coping strategies and mental health wellness tips posted by New York State doctoral-level clinical psychologist, Eileen Feliciano, Psy.D., based on her work with clients struggling with quarantine.

1. Stick to a routine. Go to sleep and wake up at a reasonable time, write a schedule that is varied and includes time for work as well as self-care.

2. Dress for the social life you want, not the social life you have. Get showered and dressed in comfortable clothes, wash your face, brush your teeth. Take the time to do a bath or a facial. Put on some bright colors. It is amazing how our dress can impact our mood.

3. Get out at least once a day, for at least thirty minutes. If you are concerned of contact, try first thing in the morning, or later in the evening, and try less traveled streets and avenues. If you are high risk or living with those who are high risk, open the windows and blast the fan. It is amazing how much fresh air can do for spirits.

4. Find some time to move each day, again daily for at least thirty minutes. If you don’t feel comfortable going outside, there are many YouTube videos that offer free movement classes, and if all else fails, turn on the music and have a dance party!

5. Reach out to others, you guessed it, at least once daily for thirty minutes. Try to do FaceTime, Skype, phone calls, texting—connect with other people to seek and provide support. Don’t forget to do this for your children as well. Set up virtual playdates with friends daily via FaceTime, Facebook Messenger Kids, Zoom, etc—your kids miss their friends, too!

6. Stay hydrated and eat well. This one may seem obvious, but stress and eating often don’t mix well, and we find ourselves over-indulging, forgetting to eat, and avoiding food. Drink plenty of water, eat some good and nutritious foods, and challenge yourself to learn how to cook something new!

7. Develop a self-care toolkit. This can look different for everyone. A lot of successful self-care strategies involve a sensory component (seven senses: touch, taste, sight, hearing, smell, vestibular (movement) and proprioceptive (comforting pressure). An idea for each: a soft blanket or stuffed animal, a hot chocolate, photos of vacations, comforting music, lavender or eucalyptus oil, a small swing or rocking chair, a weighted blanket. A journal, an inspirational book, or a mandala coloring book is wonderful, bubbles to blow or blowing watercolor on paper through a straw are visually appealing as well as work on controlled breath. Mint gum, Listerine strips, ginger ale, frozen Starburst, ice packs, and cold are also good for anxiety regulation. For children, it is great to help them create a self-regulation comfort box (often a shoe-box or bin they can decorate) that they can use on the ready for first-aid when overwhelmed.

8. Spend extra time playing with children. Children will rarely communicate how they are feeling, but will often make a bid for attention and communication through play. Don’t be surprised to see therapeutic themes of illness, doctor visits, and isolation play through. Understand that play is cathartic and helpful for children—it is how they process their world and problem solve, and there’s a lot they are seeing and experiencing in the now.

9. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and a wide berth. A lot of cooped up time can bring out the worst in everyone. Each person will have moments when they will not be at their best. It is important to move with grace through blowups, to not show up to every argument you are invited to, and to not hold grudges and continue disagreements. Everyone is doing the best they can to make it through this.

10. Everyone find their own retreat space. Space is at a premium, particularly with city living. It is important that people think through their own separate space for work and for relaxation. For children, help them identify a place where they can go to retreat when stressed. You can make this place cozy by using blankets, pillows, cushions, scarves, beanbags, tents, and “forts”. It is good to know that even when we are on top of each other, we have our own special place to go to be alone.

11. Expect behavioral issues in children, and respond gently. We are all struggling with disruption in routine, none more than children, who rely on routines constructed by others to make them feel safe and to know what comes next. Expect increased anxiety, worries and fears, nightmares, difficulty separating or sleeping, testing limits, and meltdowns. Do not introduce major behavioral plans or consequences at this time—hold stable and focus on emotional connection.

12. Focus on safety and attachment. We are going to be living for a bit with the unprecedented demand of meeting all work deadlines, homeschooling children, running a sterile household, and making a whole lot of entertainment in confinement. We can get wrapped up in meeting expectations in all domains, but we must remember that these are scary and unpredictable times for children. Focus on strengthening the connection through time spent following their lead, through physical touch, through play, through therapeutic books, and via verbal reassurances that you will be there for them in this time.

13. Lower expectations and practice radical self-acceptance. This idea is connected with #12. We are doing too many things in this moment, under fear and stress. This does not make a formula for excellence. Instead, give yourself what psychologists call “radical self acceptance”: accepting everything about yourself, your current situation, and your life without question, blame, or pushback. You cannot fail at this—there is no roadmap, no precedent for this, and we are all truly doing the best we can in an impossible situation.

14. Limit social media and COVID conversation, especially around children. One can find tons of information on COVID-19 to consume, and it changes minute to minute. The information is often sensationalized, negatively skewed, and alarmist. Find a few trusted sources that you can check in with consistently, limit it to a few times a day, and set a time limit for yourself on how much you consume (again 30 minutes tops, 2-3 times daily). Keep news and alarming conversations out of earshot from children—they see and hear everything, and can become very frightened by what they hear.

15. Notice the good in the world, the helpers. There is a lot of scary, negative, and overwhelming information to take in regarding this pandemic. There are also a ton of stories of people sacrificing, donating, and supporting one another in miraculous ways. It is important to counter-balance the heavy information with the hopeful information.

16. Help others. Find ways, big and small, to give back to others. Support restaurants, offer to grocery shop, check in with elderly neighbors, write psychological wellness tips for others—helping others gives us a sense of agency when things seem out of control.

17. Find something you can control, and control the heck out of it. In moments of big uncertainty and overwhelm, control your little corner of the world. Organize your bookshelf, purge your closet, put together that furniture, group your toys. It helps to anchor and ground us when the bigger things are chaotic.

18. Find a long-term project to dive into. Now is the time to learn how to play the keyboard, put together a huge jigsaw puzzle, start a 15 hour game of Risk, paint a picture, read the Harry Potter series, binge watch an 8-season show, crochet a blanket, solve a Rubix cube, or develop a new town in Animal Crossing. Find something that will keep you busy, distracted, and engaged to take breaks from what is going on in the outside world.

19. Engage in repetitive movements and left-right movements. Research has shown that repetitive movement (knitting, coloring, painting, clay sculpting, jump roping etc) especially left-right movement (running, drumming, skating, hopping) can be effective at self-soothing and maintaining self-regulation in moments of distress.

20. Find an expressive art and go for it. Our emotional brain is very receptive to the creative arts, and it is a direct portal for release of feeling. Find something that is creative (sculpting, drawing, dancing, music, singing, playing) and give it your all. See how relieved you can feel. It is a very effective way of helping kids to emote and communicate as well!

21. Find lightness and humor in each day. There is a lot to be worried about, and with good reason. Counterbalance this heaviness with something funny each day: cat videos on YouTube, a stand-up show on Netflix, a funny movie—we all need a little comedic relief in our day, every day.

22. Reach out for help—your team is there for you. If you have a therapist or psychiatrist, they are available to you, even at a distance. Keep up your medications and your therapy sessions the best you can. If you are having difficulty coping, seek out help for the first time. There are mental health people on the ready to help you through this crisis. Your children’s teachers and related service providers will do anything within their power to help, especially for those parents tasked with the difficult task of being a whole treatment team to their child with special challenges. Seek support groups of fellow home-schoolers, parents, and neighbors to feel connected. There is help and support out there, any time of the day—although we are physically distant, we can always connect virtually.

23. “Chunk” your quarantine, take it moment by moment. We have no road map for this. We don’t know what this will look like in 1 day, 1 week, or 1 month from now. Often, when I work with patients who have anxiety around overwhelming issues, I suggest that they engage in a strategy called “chunking”—focusing on whatever bite-sized piece of a challenge that feels manageable. Whether that be 5 minutes, a day, or a week at a time—find what feels doable for you, and set a time stamp for how far ahead in the future you will let yourself worry. Take each chunk one at a time, and move through stress in pieces.

24. Remind yourself daily that this is temporary. It seems in the midst of this quarantine that it will never end. It is terrifying to think of the road stretching ahead of us. Please take time to remind yourself that although this is very scary and difficult, and will go on for an undetermined amount of time, it is a season of life and it will pass. We will return to feeing free, safe, busy, and connected in the days ahead.

25. Find the lesson. This whole crisis can seem sad, senseless, and at times, avoidable. When psychologists work with trauma, a key feature to helping someone work through said trauma is to help them find their agency, the potential positive outcomes they can effect, the meaning and construction that can come out of destruction. What can each of us learn here, in big and small ways, from this crisis? What needs to change in ourselves, our homes, our communities, our nation, and our world?

Jan 2, 2009 – Connecting Organizers of Community Conversations for Connecting and Planning

Connecting Organizers of Community Conversations for Connecting and Planning

Notes – Jan 2, 2009 – Connecting Organizers of Community Conversations for Connecting and Planning (event on Sunday, 1/11/09 in Portland info below.)

Jas: hosted community conversation. Had five areas: housing, shelter, food, finances, health, well being. conversation at Awakenings the week before thanksgiving. Reports came out of it – resource sharing website created by brian and a sense of regular gatherings coming together from abundance and sharing and helping each other: Art, healing, nurturing touch, food share, clothing share, networking needs board and a time for council to discuss what’s up for each of us. Event sponsored by several non-profits.
Also, as individual, been involved with community activism for decades, political management… neighborhood activist, chair of Multnomah county citizen involvement, etc. also a web designer and made neighborhood networking site. Wants to take that model and develop it for everyone. Urbanvillages.net

Sharon: new to this group. Working on the Vision into Action coalition – cross between city and community. Got 17,000 people engaged in sharing their vision. Now the coalition is a group of individuals and organizations working to move forward to that vision. Hybrid of city and community – interesting position. We need the City but it can’t be only the City. The three values from the community: community, equity and sustainability. The coalition is made of two full time staff people in the bureau of planning, a steering committee of 20 volunteers, a coalition of ? organizations. Event in early December had 150 people.

Rebecca: with Theodor, part of A Circle Group collective, offshoot of eco-psychology conference at Lewis and Clark last year. ACG interested in relationship building and social change, supporting activism. Everyone in group one foot in social work, counseling, therapy and another foot in community organizing. Interested in what helps groups thrive and what creates conflict – facilitate a process where orgs don’t get stuck. In the recent econ crisis, sent some emails asking how people are responding in an emotional way… this led to a community conversation at people’s coop with 100 people there. The energy in the room was very positive, hungry for community. People wanted more so we held another at st. francis church. 50-60 people showed up. Third one coming in late jan. people interested in relationship building and also training themselves to organized their own neighborhoods, communities, scenes. Social skills and information. Strong demand and hope.

Jeremy: CNRG co-chair and Portland Peak Oil – Peak Oil task force. Also permaculture designer. In his own house got all fruit needs last summer. Emergency response and sustainability has connections … going to expo gun shows and talking sustainabiliut

Albert: most recently thinking about Portland 3000. Part of sacred circle dance community. Rabble rouser. Started Freecycle Portland. Interested in helping catalyze this movement, transitioning from this society to one that shops less, makes less stuff. Transitioned own life out of consumption years ago and can support others now. Writes a lot on it.

Brian: working with Jas. Two things: food project, organizing local communities to grow more of their own food. Really interested in what others are doing. Looking at one block in a neigborhood and helping organize that block to grow more food. Help with seeds, worm bins, etc… share. Second: ran in southern Oregon 30 years ago—sharing network. People come together with different skills and share – no tracking and no accounting. Got 80 professionals to join in two weeks. Incredible response. Good way to spread people with high needs and low skills with this kind of economy. Plugged into a network of high producers, loosens the charitable act idea and more into co-supportive system. Will post to community support network: supportpdx.com . sections for food, shelter, health care, etc. social networking site. Post resources. Make requests.

Edie: economic downturn good for people consuming less stuff!

Howard: working as a writer at Ecotrust for 9 years. Touched on a lot of all the activities at Ecotrust – systems level type projects. Recent project: writing and editing an online journal called People and Place. Interested in what about what’s going on is replicable elsewhere, worth spreading. Upcoming issue of People and Place on that topic. Looking for writers. peopleandplace.net

Melora: work with ReCode – city and state level to change building codes to legalize sustainability and remove barriers to sus dev. More community networks so that the community can inform the city on what they want. Talked with Judith on facilitation training, getting those skills out to as man people as possible. Build basic foundation of communications. Personally into urban agriculture. People have fear because they don’t know where their food comes from, basic processes.

Jenny: here as a Cross-Pollinator. Spent the last two years listening and meeting with groups and people working on all types of grassroots social change, seeing redundancy… so many similar ideas and challenges but we don’t connect, link, talk, share, listen. Finding creative ways to do this. Through working at Southeast Uplift, City Repair and TLC Farm, connected with so many groups and now seeing network level patterns and opportunities. Also, was out of the country during election and economic collapse – missed it all! And was in Zimbabwe witnessing FULL systems collapse. Perspective.

Judith: at ONI – Effective Engagement Solutions. Try to come up with ways to systematically address places of conflict, engage civically for higher good focused on chronic issues between developers a land use chairs. Sene f what people don’t want to change. Restorative listening project, restorative justice principles looking at racism in NE Portland. Interested in what is it that makes us decide that you are the other and worth more or less than me, please to continue to perpetuate oppression. We have a lot more common in our interests and needs than separate but live in boxes. Project: six conversations on change with the neighborhood coalitions. Talk about what change means to all of us and our picture of the world. E example: historic preservation proponent talking about outer southeast small houses, unpaved – not “livable” like mount tabor houses but much more sustainable. Invite people to become critical thinkers and curious. Have us determine what govt does. Usually public involvement means that the ask each person or group what’s important but not prioritize together. Also interested in progressive fringe thinkers and groups to connect into city system so that they can shape policy more. Example: in black community the idea of consuming less hits a cultural issue about people having less historically. Talking with Melora about creative a network of facilitators. Was a mediator/facilitator or 20 years and good facilitation skills are undervalued – can make a really big difference.

Kate: works with Our United Villages.—local non-profit on N. Mississippi. Community outreach is three people – convene, consult and catalyze community building. Historically worked with one neighborhood at a time . now working with individuals. Hosting dialogues on improving race relations in Portland (all dialogues chosen by community). Second one tools for community building. Now in series called working together though challenging times – had two and next one is Jan. 10. Two more scheduled in southeast in diverse areas. Workshop on feb. 7. We do our work in ways that honor that some people want to get together to talk and others are project, action oriented… separate opportunities. Consulting: we are available to any individual or non-profit – we listen and see if there’s any way we can help. Maybe it looks like we give them a survey hat we’ve created or lessons learned or linking people together… any way to help. Free service.
Judith adds: OUV is funded through the ReBuilding center. RBC created so that the community work had a funding source that’s not outside. Social enterprise model.

Kerry: worked for 35 years with battered women and abused children. Concluded that without hands on mentoring and walking people through a process where people gain ownership in the things they want to change, they can’t change. They need to rewire themselves – give away ownership. Decided that watching people cycle in and out of the system is not rewarding and there has got to be another way. To be successful it must be open ended, not exclude. Poverty and violence will get worse unless people feel safe. Sharing food with community means less likely to steal it. There are so many languages that people use. Somewhere on the way we decided that we don’t have enough. Working with Judith on Restorative listening Project. Homelessness huge issue. Was at the homelessness protest at City hall. Saw Commissioner Leonard talking to someone who said “I have one question: if there was a natural disaster, what is the plan to take care of all you rich people? That would be a great solution for the immediate need.” It’s al one big system. We are all connected. If we don’t all succeed we all fail. If we can’t go to the gun show, then we lose a huge part of the population.

—————–

Our first Abundance Gathering (aka Hope Gathering) is coming up THIS
Sunday and we’d love for you to be there to help co-create this
community support event.  The two main initiators of this event (Jas
and Brian) have recently been manifesting Nirvana last weekend, but we
are looking forward to next weekend now and would love your help!

We have amazing people in our community who can help facilitate each
of the following areas. We are all artists, healers, facilitators and
networks.  Any one of us can help create the areas below.  Please
volunteer if you feel inspired to help create any of the following!

Food (and clothing) exchange / potlatch area

Networking Board area (should have paper and pens and a way for people
to post and respond to needs)

Healing and nurturing connections area (can anyone help haul mats and
blankets from Awakenings)

Art and self-expression area

We also need a facilitator for the Council at 4pm

Please reply to brian @ nanotech-now.com

Thanks!

jas

Come share in Abundance and Hope with Food, Art, Healing and Community:

Because when we share, we all have more!

ABUNDANCE of HOPE GATHERING
Sunday, January 11 ~ 1:30 – 6:30 PM
John’s Healing Oasis ~ 537 SE Ash #42

A month ago, we held a Community Conversation at Awakenings where over
50 participants focused on how we can come together as community from
a place of well-being and abundance to face the challenges and changes
ahead. Sacred Circle was one of the sponsors of that gathering, and
the report from that event is included below. A clear desire among
those gathered was to come together periodically to share resources,
our healing gifts, food and community.

Our first Abundance Gathering will be Sunday, 1/11, at John’s
Healing Oasis located at 537 SE Ash #42. Please spread the word!

We will designate separate spaces where we can enjoy food, engage in
art, share our healing gifts, and post requests and responses on a
networking board. There will also be a Potlatch Table where you can
leave food and clothing for others to take.

At 4pm, those who wish are invited to sit in Council together to
explore how we (individually and as community) deal with the huge
changes our society faces as we seek to live in greater harmony with
our fellow human beings and the planet.

Bring food, your artistic talent, your healing gifts, and an open mind.

If you have any questions, please call or email Jas or Brian.

See you next Sunday!

Also check out the new support website: https://www.communitysupportnetworkpdx.com (no longer active – 1.7.13

Contact Info:
Jas: jimjas at gmail.com / 503-544-3838
Brian: brian at nanotech-now.com / 541-840-8155

Portland

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