Managing fear and anxiety at any time is challenging. No one likes uncertainty, and with so many avenues to information, basic levels of stress can skyrocket. Remember that human beings are survivors. Anxiety is activated by the primal part of our brain, signaling us to fight, flight, or freeze. It intends to aid survival, and yet, as it sometimes functions, it leaves us feeling paralyzed, panicked, and riddled with fear. Remember that this is normal, and everyone will feel some level of anxiety and fear right now.
Given the seriousness with which we are receiving information about COVID-19 pandemic, it is normal to feel anxious. Facing concerns of the developing covid-19 pandemic, marriage and family therapists, as well as other mental health experts, want to remind those with exacerbated anxiety, fear and depression symptoms some ways to manage their symptoms during this time of uncertainty.
New York Time Coronavirus
These are challenging times, and now more than ever, we need to work together in supportive and compassionate ways. From some of the most difficult moments come opportunities to grow. This is a time to redefine our communities in ways that will allow us to feel more connected, despite temporary social distancing.
January 1st, welcome to 2018! This is the year of health! I will lose weight….eat better...get more sleep...use the gym membership I paid for last year…(insert your own unique resolution)! If on December 31 you resolved to improve your health in 2018, you are not alone. According to a Google search provided by iQuanti, “Get Healthy” prompted 62,776,640 searches, a 13.77 percent increase over last year (2016) during the same time period.
And now, it is the last day of January, how has the resolution been going? Maybe you have really hit your stride and are making positive changes in your life, health, and happiness. Or maybe you have found it necessary to redefine and refocus your goals, possibly breaking it down into smaller more digestible (weight loss pun intended) segments in order to keep momentum going. And maybe you have not started making those changes that you had such ambitions for at the beginning of the year...and of course you could be somewhere between all of these on the broad spectrum of intention and commitment, honoring both your desires but also your reality around what is feasible for your life.
While being balanced in diet and exercise are often important to living and creating the best versions of ourselves, I find myself wondering when, how, and why the idea of “Getting Healthy” so often gets narrowed into these two categories. I believe we can take begin to take charge of our health without ever setting foot in a gym or counting calories! This include the decidedly less sexy path of checking off annual doctor visits or making appointments with doctors to address specific concerns or thoughts. In fact, January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, sponsored by The National Cervical Cancer Coalition.
Before I lose you to an eye roll, shrug, or a return to Instagram scrolling, take a moment to reflect on how you can take control of your health in the month of January by simply making an appointment for a cervical exam, or wellness check with your doctor. Here come statistics:
While cervical health is at the forefront of this post, the same sentiment applies to any area of your health. Get that mole checked out, visit a chiropractor, check your vision, get your teeth cleaned. These appointments, though often annoying to make and keep, provide clarity around the anxiety and stress many of us carry around our physical health which is so often maintained by inaction! Interrupt this cycle and resolve to call your doctor and set up an appointment. Early intervention is important in all areas of health, take advantage of the long cold days and nights where you will not be missing out on anything by visiting your health care professionals.
One of the fascinating things about health is that it can be fleeting and while we are healthy it is easy to take it for granted. We often believe we have some sort of control over our bodies and can be surprised when they do not act the way we expect. One way to mitigate the possibility of surprises is to visit your doctor and control the controllables.
Therefore, I challenge you to take control of your health in 2018, start by making an appointment with a doctor and start the year with the comforting knowledge that your health is being managed and you are taking control of what you can. And if you set this tangible and quantifiable goal, maybe you will be part of the 8% of people who actually achieve their New Year’s goals!
Here’s to redefining a healthy 2018!
The Holidays are Coming! The Holidays are Coming…Thoughts from a Marriage and Family Therapist on Managing the Stress of the Season