The Beginning of Something New

Normalcy After COVID-19

Essential Tools to Cope

May 2020

Dear Survivor,

Your flexibility is admirable in this ever-changing world. One second we’re grabbing coffee on our way into work and the next, we’re in our pajamas working from home on makeshift desks. Whether it was easy or not, YOU made it through! Luckily, this quarantine is temporary and some of you have already experienced the shift back into normalcy. How do you feel about that? Excited? Worried? That’s OK. While we all share the same moment of returning to our communities, it’s important to remember that not everybody feels the same towards it. While some may feel eager to get back into their social lives, others may be feeling overwhelmed that all this change is too much, too soon. There is no right or wrong way to feel. Simply, honor yourself and all of your emotions.

Extend this honor to your neighbors as well. As we know our own experiences are unique to us. Because of this, entering back into society may look different than what we are used to. You might see people continuing to distance themselves and wearing masks- even if it is not mandatory. Everybody deserves to be themselves and to unapologetically create their own boundaries. There is no shame for being YOU. For the individuals that are experiencing anxiety or stress about coming back into society, I want to share techniques and grounding tools to re-introduce peace back into your days.

Let’s pause for a second. This pause gives us space to assess our situation and process our emotions. Right now, we are sitting in discomfort of uncertainty while sacrificing our routines and habits which is triggering our body to create stress hormones. These stress hormones create this energy and how we apply it varies by the person and could look like any of the following and more:

  • Excessive Cleaning
  • Elaborate Home Projects/Renovations
  • Overeating
  • Binge-Watching TV

It’s important to remember to pause all this busyness- which are essentially fear-based distractions caused by our trauma- and ground ourselves. Grounding yourself simply means you are in connection with your mind and body in the present moment and is particularly useful when experiencing overwhelming or distracting memories, thoughts, or feelings that hang around in your mind, going around in a vicious circle. Here are some examples of grounding:

Standing with Your Feet on the Ground

5-4-3-2-1: List five things you hear, four things you see, three things you can touch around you, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.

Visualizing: Visualize that you are a tree, your feet are the roots imbedded into the Earth, your thoughts as clouds passing slowly by with the breeze.

  • Wrapping Your Arms Around Yourself
  • Splash Water on Your Face
  • Moving/Dancing
  • Holding an Object and Focusing on It

The great thing is, grounding doesn’t require a lot of energy or time and can be done anywhere! My personal favorite techniques to practice on myself are to visualize tracing the outline of my feet and butterfly taps, which are similar to hugs and synchronizing it with your breath at a nice, gentle pace. Those are especially nice since hugs are pretty limited these days. I recommend trying some of these techniques out for yourself and finding what works best for you.

Social distancing puts strain on connections but we don’t have to be disconnected from others or ourselves. Click here to find more ways to connect and make even more connections with others and myself by following my Facebook and Instagram pages!

Supporting you with love and respect,

Zen Jen (formerly known as Jennifer Emperador) is a Trauma-Sensitive Practitioner specializing in a wholeness approach to healing trauma. She’s a survivor, warrior and fellow sister who wants to inspire and empower women dealing with trauma and PTSD.

 

Sources:

Psychotherapist Natalie Y. Gutierrez, LMFT, @Nataliegutierrezlmft on Instagram

What is it like to be a mental health professional in a pandemic

Grounding Exercises

 

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