Hello, Creative! We have new updates and recommendations from our authorities in Maryland from the developing situation surrounding the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. This week Governor Hogan confirmed the first case of confirmed community spread of the virus. Last week I introduced Creatively’s COVID preparedness plan. This plan still stands- I am making updates today to the timeline of its implementation regarding what we currently know. Please take a moment to review the updated info, and some reviewed info. Understand that I will continue to share any changes to Creatively’s response as needed an update all of you via email, text, social media and this website.
First, the facts. COVID-19 is in Maryland, and Maryland as of March 5 has been declared in a state of emergency by Governor Hogan, and as of the week of March 8th the first case of community spread of the virus has been confirmed in the State- but- this does NOT mean you should panic. The focus of the current response is to contain further spread. Up to date information on what you need to know can be found here:
Maryland Health Department Website- Coronavirus
Following the medical and hygiene recommendations and any other preparatory steps of the health department as they evolve are your best pathway to staying safe.
Second, the preparedness plan is going into place at Creatively. Though as of today, March 13, there is no official recommendation for counseling businesses to close by authorities, my focus is to cooperate in the State’s efforts of public safety to reduce the spread of COVID-19. I also understand that losing your counseling support is not in your best interest.
For weekend appointments on Saturday, March 14: Liberal application of telehealth applied, in office visits still available where appropriate. If you are healthy, have not come into direct contact with anyone who is sick meeting diagnostic criteria for Coronavirus, and feel safe and able, you are welcome to come into the office for your appointment. I will be in the office for appointments this Saturday. If you do not meet this criteria, or prefer to stay at home per your own planning, you may notify me via text or email that you wish to attend your appointment via telehealth. In the event that you wish to have a telehealth session, please click on the link at the end of this article that reads “more information for telehealth sessions.” For those of you attending in person office visits, I will be cleaning my office chairs, doors, tissue boxes, cushions, and other frequently touched surfaces between each client. I am relying on you to follow CDC recommendations for health and hygiene. I will also be recommending seating within the office to maximize the social distancing recommendations.
Third, we need to talk about taking care of your emotional and mental wellbeing during times of national and global stress. This is so crucial because elevations in stress can in fact decrease the capacity of your immune system to function and protect you. It is normal and natural to feel stress during stressful times- there is nothing wrong with this response. What we don't want to do is live in high stress levels and get caught in cognitive loops that elevate them further. Instead, I encourage you to take time to be aware of and nonjudgementally notice your experience of your stress levels. Ask yourself, as you would ask a small child, what do you need in order to return to an emotional baseline and feel soothed? Not attending to and minimizing stressful emotions will likely make them worse. A blog article walking you through an exercise to help you self care your anxiety can be found here:
Listening to your Instincts
Self care pairs nicely with this article on self soothing exercises for high levels of anxiety- step-by-step instructions here:
Safe Place and Self Soothing
Finally, please don't hesitate to reach out- that is what I am here for! The world is full of chaos and the unexpected. Ultimately trusting ourselves, our resources and our support system, we will weather the storm.
Live well, Creative! (And wash and scrub those creative hands!)
Live Life Creatively,
Cindy Cisneros, LCPC-S, LPC
(C) 2020 Creatively, LLC
More info about telehealth sessions👇
The information provided in this blog is from my own clinical experiences and training. It is intended to supplement your clinical care. Never make major life changes before consulting with your treatment team. If you are unsure of your safety or wellbeing, do not hesitate to get help immediately.