Trapped. Isolated and confused. Overwhelmed and uncertain. These are just some of the many feelings we are all experiencing while quarantining ourselves during the pandemic. Many of us are held captive in our homes; the very four walls that once provided safety are now the same walls caging us in. Over my many years as a psychotherapist, I have not seen anything impact the mental states and emotions of people world-round quite like the COVID-19 pandemic. We are being called to question the way we care for ourselves and the way we care for others. We are pushed into a place to do a lot more thinking and a lot less doing. Our boundaries are being questioned and re-examined with little information, let alone limited time to process how to manage the boundaries. This transition can be difficult. In order to cope with the anxiety through this transition, I find myself gravitating to the therapeutic, heart-centered work and tools that have in the past helped with managing my day-to-day. This feels even more important today as we adapt from an active, in-person world of engagement to a telehealth space to ensure our safety and intrinsic health.
Through this pandemic, we are seeing an increase in anxiety with people having trouble sleeping, elevated levels of fear, and dwelling on consequential thoughts in Los Angeles. The anxiety is coming from all of the unknowns that are happening in the world around us. We struggle with what we do not know and we struggle with not being able to control this uncertainty. Historically, humanity has demonstrated success and prospered through life by what is known and in their control. Right now there is so much up in the air with complicated messaging, leaving humanity with a collective sense of confusion and vulnerability. This confusion triggers our fight-or-flight responses and causes our sympathetic nervous system to act out. Through these triggers ,we are consciously in the state of anxiety that directly ties into our fears of not surviving, playing on our basic survival needs of security and well-being. In a time like this, it is even more important for us to press the reset button and manage the anxiety, to re-channel the fight-or-flight response, and to activate the parasympathetic nervous system.
As your therapist, I am here to support you through this critical process and help you manage the anxiety. Here are a few suggestions on how you can manage the your anxiety during this uncertain time:
1. Reframe the "I am stuck inside" thinking to "I can focus on myself and my home."
2. Meditate for 10 minutes a day. This can be sitting quietly for 10 minutes or following a guided meditation routine.
3. Limit your news consumption to 2-3 credible sources for 30 minutes or less a day.
4. Have something to look forward to each and everyday that is not tied to a responsibility. Think self-care here!
5. Stay in touch with your support system. Engage in shared experiences through phone, video, and social media. *Look out for the next blog on the importance of shared experiences.*
6. Use telehealth as an option to talk to a therapist if your anxiety feels unmanageable or is increasing.
So much of what is important right now is understanding, compassion, and empathy; the foundations of mindfulness. I am committed to helping you re-channel your fight-or-flight response through providing supportive listening, teaching you effective coping skills, and helping you tap into your shakti (the life force energy that is within you) to rediscover a sense of calmness, peace, and tranquility. Feeling overwhelmed and debilitated does not have to be your reality during this stay-at-home order.
If you are ready to feel heard, reach levels of peace and calmness, and feel more happiness in your life, contact me today for a complimentary consultation. I am in this with you, and TOGETHER we can navigate any conflict you are trying to manage.
Ektha Aggarwal is a licensed South Asian Therapist and CEO of Shakti Therapy and Healing Services in Los Angeles, CA. Ektha specializes in working with South Asians (Indian & Desi) and people of color to break the stigma around mental health and instill the concept of immigrant resilience. If you are ready to feel empowered, effortlessly achieve your goals, and feel more happiness in your life, schedule a complimentary consultation now.