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  • Writer's pictureKara Kohnen

Covid Self (& Family) Care for the Holiday Season

Hello! I was recently interviewed on the following topics and with more Holidays looming, we all need to be creative this year to celebrate safely. Here is are some ideas if you or a loved one are struggling with concerns about isolation, mood or social skills:

What should I do if I'm feeling depressed or overwhelmed, but am socially distancing because I'm high-risk? There are many options for at home self care and I recommend as many as possible! Social connections and communication with support is critical even while social distancing. Consider a regularly scheduled time to speak with friends and family over facetime or the phone. Schedule weekly or more frequently if needed, counseling sessions with a therapist. For feelings of overwhelm, set small attainable goals each day, consider checklists and write out your schedule including time for fun things as well.

-What advice would you give me if I told you I was having a hard time living with my emotional or physical condition, and socially isolating is making everything so much worse? I would first normalize this has been an incredibly challenging year for all so this makes a lot of sense. It's important to not lose hope as we know for certain these challenges will improve in time. I find it helpful to focus on gratitude for all the people helping to care for the sick and researching a vaccine. Starting a daily gratitude journal or practice is recommended. -Why is social isolation so difficult? Social isolation is difficult because we are social creatures meant to connect, support and soothe one another. Hugs release positive chemicals in our brain as they are signs and are cared for. Just as important we all need to feel valued when we care for others too. Taking away the opportunity to connect and serve others is difficult. If you can reach out to an elderly neighbor or send a gift or meal to a friend in need, this may be a great time as this tends to help improve both your mood and their mood. -Can you give me a few tips on how to deal with isolation? In therapy we are often using "reframing" to change a negative into a positive. If we look at the positive side of isolation, there is less pressure to attend events or be as busy in life. With this extra time, I recommend starting a new hobby, being creative and connecting with nature.

-What are some ways I can safely keep in touch with my family and friends? Video conference, practicing social distance protocols, sending cards and letter or care packages are all great ways to safely keep in touch. -What should I do if I feel like my social skills have atrophied during the pandemic and reaching out feels awkward or unnatural? If you are experiencing this, it's likely others are as well. But, if you reflect on how it felt to have someone reach out and reconnect a majority of the time you were likely to be very pleased. If you are thinking of reaching out the risk is worth it as it is likely going to be received very positively, even if it feels awkward. Sharing about your experience and being vulnerable helps others do this and feel heard and connected.Social anxiety is likely to rise in this pandemic era but like all anxiety we don't want the fear to grow and often working through this and doing it anyway helps shrink the fear and anxiety! -Is now a bad time to start therapy, because I would be doing virtual visits with someone I've never met in person? We started offering Telehealth in March and have been truly amazed with how effectively we can deliver services virtually. In reviewing all the research, efficacy rates are high for effective care. Absolutely, do seek care via Telehealth and I think for many of us we will continue to offer this into the future due to client access and convenience.

Grow Through Life is here to help and accepting new patients! We offer Telehealth and can treat patients who are located anywhere in the state of California (per our licenses).

We also plan to offer a Telehealth Teen Support Group again in January so give a ring if you have a teen you'd like to join so we can hold a spot for them. 619-549-0329 ext 0 or

We wish you a happy and healthy holiday season!

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