Justin Pere was recently interviewed by John Colucci with KOMO News in an online Q&A, taking questions submitted by KOMO News followers. In this interview, we discussed ways to cope with anxiety, depression, stress, and how this "new normal" we're all trying to forge in this unknown future is impacting our minds, our bodies, our marriages, and our families.
Please reach out to Clarity Counseling Seattle to schedule a Teletherapy appointment to help with these difficult times.
A brief description of the answer given can be found below the video clip.
How to Handle Anxiety, Depression & Coping With Our New Normal
John Colucci: The first question I have is about people suffering from anxiety and depression in general. It's high for a lot of people, particularly people who maybe don't experience either of these things are really have sensed them before. So for those that are new to these feelings, what support or thoughts might you have for them?
Justin Pere: Yeah, absolutely. A bunch of ideas there. And you're right we don't have to have clinical anxiety or depression to be experiencing what we're all going through right now. So it's a really normal reaction actually to a very abnormal situation we're in. So a number of things:
Limiting your news
Limiting the exposure that you have to the stories that are out there is an idea. It's good to be informed. You get to be as informed as you decide to be, but really limiting the amount of information that you take in. There are a lot of stories that we could read about what's happening in the world that may be increasing our anxiety or depression or our stress. So be aware of what you're taking in. Sometimes we suggest scheduling maybe just a couple of times a day that you check in with what's happening.
Focus on self-care
Whatever self-care means to you. What do you know about yourself or what can you learn about yourself that helps you to relax, to be more in your body, to be more present? It may be exercise, it may be taking a bath, it may be talking to certain people, but get a better sense of what self-care is for you and then make sure that you're implementing that.
Exercising, using your body in some way
That could be as simple as stretching or it might be going for walks. We can actually be out walking and also with someone else from a distance. So make sure that you're using your body. It helps to get us out of our heads and more into our bodies and our senses.
Breathing and relaxing
We know we're all told to breathe, but there's really something to that. We're really shifting our physiology when we breathe in a deeper, more intentional way. We're shifting our physiological state and our central nervous system. So breathing, but also trying to relax. Be aware of when your body is tight or tense and see if you can relax those muscles.
Something else that's helpful is practicing mindfulness. You can use apps like Calm or Headspace which are popular mindfulness apps. If we weren't in this time, I'd suggest doing an 8-week course that is mostly used around the world. It's called "mindfulness-based stress reduction." That's a great way to really deeply get into mindfulness. And there might be that online actually, but for now, it's enough to use these apps to teach you some basic mindfulness skills. And mindfulness is about learning to be in the present, which is a simple idea, but it's a hard thing to do.
Reading a book
There are tons of books about anxiety, stress, depression. I love a book called the mindful way through anxiety. It has a lot of information but a lot of activities that you can do. So the mindful way through anxiety. You can lean on social supports; who's in your life that you can talk to, that you already talk to or that you haven't talked to for a while, that helps you to be calmer, to be more present, to feel more connected to people, which of course we really need right now.
And you can always get into therapy or get back into therapy. Therapists are actually really working. We're all online now but psychotherapy is still absolutely an option for people that find that they need that.
Teletherapy at Clarity Counseling Seattle
Contact Dr. Justin Pere and our team at Clarity Counseling Seattle in order to learn more, or to schedule an online or in-person therapy session.