Hello, Creative! Welcome to March. There is a lot of anxiety in the world lately surrounding the increasing spread of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. Following the release last night of Governor Hogan's statement of the first 3 confirmed cases in the state of Maryland, anxiety is likely to increase for many. I understand- there are still a lot of unknowns. So this month, while on social media we are enjoying "getting to know Creatively," this month's blog is focused on preparedness physically and mentally, as well as Creatively's own preparedness plan for COVID-19.
First, the facts. Yes, COVID-19 is in Maryland, and Maryland as of March 5 has been declared in a state of emergency by Governer Hogan- but- this does NOT mean you should panic. 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 preperatory steps of the health department as they evolve are your best pathway to staying safe.
Second, there is a preparedness plan in place at Creatively. In the event of any type of quarentine, shelter in place, reduced activity, etc recommendation by local authorities to reduce the spread of COVID-19, I understand that losing your counseling support is not in your best interest. But, I will also be following the recommendations of local authorities and closing the physical offices at Creatively. Instead, I will be available to you as scheduled for your appointments via telehealth. If this preparedness plan goes into action, you will receive text and email alerts from me that the physical office space has been closed and all appointments have been converted into telehealth. All you need to do is reply via text or email to confirm your appointment. At the time your appointment is scheduled to begin, I will text you a unique link to start your appointment. Telehealth appointments are HIPAA compliant, encrypted, and covered by the insurance policies that I accept. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about this plan. You may, of course, enact this plan for yourself by contacting me and changing your appointment to telehealth per your own judgement and safety planning.
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
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.