Acknowledge that your feelings are valid; allow them to exist AND keep them in check:

  • Anxiety and fear are reasonable emotions to experience during any crisis.  These emotions are meant to act as signals and can be helpful by keeping us aware, vigilant, and motivated for problem-solving during difficult times.
  • Anxiety and fear become unhelpful when they go unmanaged and unchecked: reasonable caution and hyper-vigilance are not the same thing!
  • Keep your emotions in-check with this checklist:
  • LABEL the difficult emotion you’re feeling
  • Identify what NEGATIVE THOUGHTS might be reinforcing that difficult emotion (ie: this will never end, we are not safe, we cannot handle this)
  • CHALLENGE that negative thought with something more beneficial to you that is also true (ie: this will not last forever, I will do the best I can, I have overcome difficult obstacles before)
  • Take time to ground yourself and DEESCALATE (ie: practice a simple deep-breathing exercise, take a walk, drink a glass of water, talk to a trusted peer/friend/family member)
  • REPEAT when that difficult emotion arises again, finding some peace in knowing you have managed it before

Maintain a consistent self-care routine:

  • Changes in your normal daily routine (ie: changes in work hours, financial changes, changes in who you’re seeing on a daily basis) create discomfort and stress on a neurological level; familiar routine provides predictability, and therefore safety, to our brains.
  • Try to maintain as much consistency in your daily routine as possible:
  • Wake up and go to sleep around the same times each day, and follow your typical “getting ready” and “winding down” routines even if you are working from home, or working abbreviated hours.
  • Prioritize breaks throughout your day to decompress (ie: get outside, move your body, eat a healthy snack, hydrate, talk to friends/family).
  • Prioritize safe exercise, which is one of the most effective methods of stress management; moving your body stimulates the release of endorphins, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin which are neurotransmitters that play an important role in mood regulation.

Keep your finger on your emotional pulse:

  • During times of stress, uncertainty, loss, and hardship you are more vulnerable to difficult emotions like depression and anxiety
  • These emotions are reasonable, they are a normal part of human existence, but it is also important to observe if these emotions are becoming unmanageable
  • If you feel your mental and emotional health are becoming unmanageable help and support are available to you
  • Warning signs to look out for:
    • Chronic feelings of hopelessness
    • Increased desire to isolate and withdraw from the people around you
    • Decreased motivation for and attention to self-care/ADLs
    • Increased use of alcohol or other substances
    • Thoughts of wanting to harm yourself or thoughts of suicide

Supportive resources available to you:

  • Monica is a LCSW with experience practicing psychotherapy in both an in-patient and outpatient setting.  Monica is available to provide supportive counseling in-office, via telemedicine, or via phone conference if you are in need.  To schedule, call (850) 877-8174.
  • Local mental health professionals are available to provide supportive counseling via telemedicine for anyone who is unable to or uncomfortable with an in-person appointment.  If you have a counselor, contact them and ask about this option.  If you don’t, a quick google-search, or contacting your insurance company, will help you find an in-network provider.
  • NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
    • The NAMI Helpline is open Monday – Friday 10 AM to 6 PM and can provide information on resources to address your emotional and mental wellbeing
    • Call 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or E-mail for more information on non-emergent support and resources
    • Text NAMI to 741-741 for free 24/7 crisis support via text message
    • Call 800-273-TALK (8255) if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis to speak with a trained crisis counselor

Monica Johnson, LCSW