Keeping Your Mental Health in Check

Keeping Your Mental Health in Check

Let’s be honest: things can feel pretty heavy these days. With everything going on in the world, it’s no wonder many of us are feeling worried, sad, and even angry at times. Coping with difficult emotions can be a tough terrain to navigate, which is why we’re excited to partner with Grand Central Psychology, a group of psychologists that treat adults, tweens, and teens. They practice Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which research has shown to be the most effective in improving one’s mood and overall mental health.

Since we can all use a little mental health tune-up right now, Grand Central Psychology is offering a free webinar this Friday, July 10th, at 12pmET, and they’re inviting all Parent List members to join. The webinar will cover a number of tools for coping during these very uncertain times. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the tips that will be shared on the webinar:

Validate your emotions. Whatever you’re feeling right now is normal. Don’t judge these emotions. They are present for a reason. Instead, think about how you can effectively manage them so they don’t negatively impact your daily life.

Find some structure in your day… while remaining flexible. Our typical routines are in flux these days. Without your usual schedule of work, school, gym, socializing, etc., there is a tendency to flounder. Schedule activities in your daily planner with specific times that you plan to do them. The same thing goes for your kiddos. Sure, they might not have camp this summer, but you can help them create a fun (and somewhat structured) routine using many of the ideas from Parent List. Don’t overdo it, though, for either you or your children. There’s a tendency to think that now is the time to finally do everything you’ve been putting off forever: learning that second language, getting in the best shape of your life, teaching your kindergartner calculus (okay, maybe not that bad). Putting too much pressure on yourself or your child right now will lead to burnout and more negative emotions. Create a schedule and leave some room for some flexibility.

Watch out for Stinkin’ Thinkin’. When we’re stressed or sad, we tend to have negative, irrational thoughts that get in our way and make our mood even worse. Be on the lookout for “cognitive distortions” such as catastrophizing (“This is awful and I can’t handle it!”), fortunetelling (“Things are definitely going to get worse”), mindreading (“My friends and family think I am [fill in the blank]”), and negative filtering (seeing only the negative in a situation without looking at the whole picture). When you recognize one of these thought patterns, talk back to it. Ask yourself what evidence you have to support this irrational thought, and replace it with a belief that is grounded in reality. 

Remember the Serenity Prayer. Accept the things you cannot change. Be courageous in changing the things you can. Know the difference between what is and what is not within your control. Letting go of what’s out of your control will empower you to make small changes.

Practice mindfulness. When you feel particularly out of control, find something that will ground you in the here-and-now. Perhaps it’s breathing. Perhaps it’s being particularly aware of your surroundings and senses. Perhaps it’s a guided meditation. There are many exercises (and apps!) that can help you work on your mindfulness game. Give it a try!

Limit news consumption. With so much going on in the world, it is tempting to constantly check the news — and yes, that means Facebook and Twitter, too. Constant news consumption is bound to make you feel more anxious, especially today. Find ways to limit how much news you take in. Maybe you turn off notifications about breaking news, or you schedule specific times to watch or read the news. Trust us: you will not fall behind on what’s going on and you will feel better.

Practice gratitude. Yes, there is a lot to be sad and scared about lately, but there is always an opportunity to acknowledge things we feel grateful for; perhaps it’s a special moment with your family or a delicious meal you ate. Actively practice gratitude by saying these things out loud (your family can go around the dinner table saying one thing) or writing it down. Consider keeping a gratitude journal. Practicing gratitude will allow you to see the full picture of your life… even during these incredibly uncertain and even scary times.

Parent List members are invited to tune into Grand Central Psychology’s webinar, “Take Care: Best Practices for Taking Care of Yourself Right Now” on Friday, July 10th, at 12pm. Register here to obtain Zoom info. For questions about the webinar or to contact someone at Grand Central Psychology, email info@grandcentralpsychology.com

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