Angel Powers is the owner and founder of Mainstream Therapy. Blending traditional and non-traditional frameworks for mental health and self awareness, she’s an expert in helping people navigate the day to day while maintaining the best possible health of mind and spirit.
We asked Angel to address some of the most common Google searches about dealing with Covid, as well as answer some questions we received.
Ask The Expert – Dealing With Covid
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect mental health?
We are in a constant state of hyperarousal. We know the ramifications that stress has on our body, it increases stress hormones, cause sleep disturbances, increases irritability, and much more. If we are in a constant state of stress or worry, it steals our peace from today. We aren’t living presently because it’s uncomfortable. We are avoiding discomfort even more.
What are the psychological effects of COVID-19 on children?
Children respond to their environment. I don’t think there’s a “one size fits all” answer to this question. Children respond to their caregivers’ response to danger or threat, and yes, they do read though the protection tactic we all do as parents. If you’re stressed and worried they will be too. Children are known to be resilient but I would have to say that perhaps their more adaptable because they have less years of reinforcers then an adult.
How can we take care of our mental health during the pandemic?
Self-care is so important and usually the first thing to go when we make adjustments. I remember a time in my life when I too cut out self-care because of time, resources, or flat out checking out! We need to build resilience. We build resilience by practice. When we learn to ride a bike we practice daily so that we are able to build the fine motor skills and learn the mechanics to maneuver the bike. This creates muscle memory so it becomes an automatic habit and an unconsciousness behaviour, we do not think about it, we do it.
Doing it reinforces the skill. I can suggest taking a bath, or walking in nature, meeting with a counsellor, reading, or limiting the news and caffeine, but self care is a personal journey to discover. It comes with practice. It comes with loving and nurturing yourself and your soul. Self-care is something we do because we love yourself enough to enhance our life. I would argue that self-care isn’t so much a behaviour or a doing, but rather a feeling, a belief. So I would invite you to do something that nourishes your soul. When you decide to do something, be in the energy of peace, love, and joy…for all of those nourish your soul.
When should I seek out professional help for the stress I’m feeling?
Every human being deserves to live a meaningful life, on their terms. Therapy comes in many forms and is an opportunity to look inward at yourself. If you are absent from that at any level you could consider meeting with someone to process. Oftentimes people think therapy is a means for the ill or someone in crisis but I argue that it’s an act of self-love. If you have beliefs that aren’t serving you then don’t you think learning another way to view your internal system would benefit you? If you have distorted what normal anxiety is. Anxiety is to serve the purpose of protecting us from danger. The issue with anxiety is we distort what danger is. We feel threatened to go to the store, being around people, going to work, or avoiding certain activities. These can be some examples of what inappropriate danger is.
I work with many clients from a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy framework that makes connections with your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It reframes the way you think and feel about your specific anxiety triggers. The basic anxiety formula when we overestimate a threat and underestimate our ability to cope with the danger. Our work together would look at evaluating your perceived danger and build coping skills to manage your symptoms. The more you practice the more tolerance you build to cope with your anxious feelings. Right now it’s safe to say that a lot of people feel trapped. If you could reframe feeling trapped mindset to taking advantage of the time spent at home, the time to discover new hobbies and interests. Counselling services are more accessible than ever with video conferencing or telephone sessions. You don’t have to leave the comfort of your ow home, or our counsellors can meet you in person, whichever is preferred.