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When It Rains, It Pours...and It's Covid-y Out There!

Covid Virus
The Bane of Everyone's Existence

Recently I've been thinking a lot about anxiety and how it is impacting everyone, especially now. As we come upon election season and the country is in a state of turmoil, stress is coming fast and heavy for a lot of people. Skills for dealing with stress that were previously successful may not be cutting it right now, or our "normal" ways of coping are not as readily available as they once were due to Covid-19 closures and reduced hours, etc. I, for example, loved going to the gym 2-3 days per week and getting a good sweat on to some excellent music with a very good friend. In March, the gyms were completely shut down and my favorite coping skill disappeared overnight. I grieved the loss of my "normal" like a death (Disclaimer: although I'm a counselor, I'm a real person, so if you are expecting perfection, I apologize in advance for what you are about to read), complete with no motivation, emotional eating and gaining an amount of weight I will not share here. Yuck. Stress got a strong hold on me back in March, 2020. It has a sneaky way of doing that sometimes (Side note: I tried to fix my clunky elliptical in the basement, but that ended up being more stress, so the project was abandoned).

Ok, so why did I share this story? Because I'm trying to make a point.

The point is this:

"You must adapt." And guess what, I'm still adapting and guess what else? That's okay!! I am taking walks, slowly going back to the gym with my mask (Ahem, "facial covering.") when I have time, starting a business and still finding ways to chat with my wonderful friends even if it's over the dreaded zoom or the wonderful-pseudo-90's-retro "Netflix Party." I'm also practicing self-compassion in conjunction with my acceptance AND I'm still trying to right the ship on a daily basis. It's a process and I'm still adjusting. I have three distinct reasons for talking about all of this today.

Reason 1- a factor that can often complicate stress is the pressure we put on ourselves to do things "right" or worse yet, "perfectly." I have to channel Bob Newhart from a very famous skit from a show long, long ago, and say to you…"Stop it!" Expecting yourself to be perfect is a recipe for added stress and also depression. Luckily, there is something you can do to fight back.

Practicing self-compassion as we try to adapt to new things in life is a helpful tactic for reducing this unnecessary extra layer of stress and guilt we are adding to what's already there. Take a step back, take a deep breath and be nice to yourself for a second. We are in the middle of a pandemic. Has anyone you know ever been through one of these before? No? Me either. So, PLEASE, cut yourself some slack as we try to navigate this very difficult time in history. Practice compassionate self-talk to help manage that inner critic such as "You're doing the best you can, which is enough" or other phrases to help soothe your self-judgement. If this is very difficult for you, you may need some extra help from a trusted counselor, friend or loved one. If so, ask them, I'm sure they'd be happy to help you because they care about you.

Reason 2: I want you to understand you are not alone in your reaction to stress. In recovery-world, there is a saying: "You are having a 'normal' reaction to very 'abnormal' circumstances." What you are experiencing is very common amongst people. You may not realize it and think you are somehow deficient or sub-par, but believe me, we are all right there together, and we are all worried. The thing that's important to remember is that not everyone is willing to share their vulnerability with others and so he or she or they may put on a false front that all is well. Facebook is a great example of this. We point the camera at the good stuff and show it to the world while we don't post the not-so-good stuff and only tell very close friends, or perhaps, no one at all. It is so important that you not compare yourself to others who 'appear' to have it all together. I assure you, no one really has it all together. Really, no one. Read that again. No one. Is this microphone thing on? NO ONE.

Reason 3: Once we realize no one has it all together and we are all suffering, it makes room for some common humanity. There is no need for me to be angry with the guy who cut me off in traffic, because he is probably stressed out, angry, distracted and worried too, just like me. Just like all of us. He is also, after all, in the middle of a pandemic during election season, and has fear about the future. We all need a little extra compassion right now for and from each other because life is difficult. It's always difficult, but right now, it is especially difficult. So please, be nice to each other. We really are all in this together. If someone messes up, try to forgive them. It really will help us all in the long run.

So in conclusion, I'd like to wrap up with a quote from someone I admire, Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Monk from the Buddhist tradition who has changed my thinking profoundly over the years. He speaks a lot about suffering (and I believe anxiety is a type of suffering). I like this quote because it applies to all of us, when I suffer and when you suffer and when WE (humanity) suffer:

I believe we all need help at one time or another over the course of life. So if you are in a position to help, please do so. If you need help, please don't hesitate to ask someone you trust.

If you have any questions about my writing please feel free to call me at 330-451-6306, or send me a confidential email at If you would like to meet with me for a private session to discuss your anxiety or stress, please reach out to me. All sessions with me are by appointment only.

You can also visit the website (if that's not where you are reading this) at for more information about me and the services I offer.

If you are in crisis, please contact the Coleman Crisis Center in Canton at 330-452-6000 for immediate help or the national crisis line at 1-800-275 TALK (8255). You can also text the Ohio Crisis Line by sending "4 hope" to 741-741 or go to the nearest emergency department for immediate assistance.

Take care of yourselves!



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