Hello, Creative! This afternoon, Sunday, March 15, in Howard County, home-base for Creatively, Executive Calvin Ball announced the first case of COVID-19 in the County and declared a County-wide state of emergency. He signed an executive order closing for at least 7 days business locations including the Mall at Columbia, along with adjacent businesses in the mall complex. Two weeks ago I introduced Creatively’s COVID preparedness plan and effective today, Saturday, March 15, in action with Executive Ball’s executive order implementing at midnight tonight, Creatively, LLC physical offices will close and ALL APPOINTMENTS TRANSFER TO TELEHEALTH AT THIS TIME. This plan remains in effect until Howard County receives different guidance from the local authorities. Though this is currently for 7 days, this is a rapidly evolving situation and subject to change. 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 and update all of you via email, text, social media and this website.
First, the facts. 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. Today, Sunday, March 15, the first case of the virus was confirmed in Howard County- 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. Current recommendations focus on social distancing, e.g.- stay home as much as you can!
EFFECTIVE SUNDAY, MARCH 15, ALL CREATIVELY APPOINTMENTS TRANSFER TO TELEHEALTH: You will still have your regularly scheduled appointment time if you have an existing appointment. All you need available to you is a microphone and video enabled device (cellphones, tablets, computers all should work) with a wireless or WiFi signal. Comcast is extending free internet to support social distancing if you are in need of internet service. At the time of your appointment I will text you a unique link to start your session- all you have to do is click the link from your device to join. Please be sure you have given permission to your browser on your device to use the microphone and camera. I will be emailing you a one-time-only informed consent document to review and sign for telehealth. For additional details on telehealth and to see a copy of the informed consent document, please click on the link at the end of this article that reads “more information for telehealth sessions.”
To reach me between sessions: I recommend texting my business cell phone 443-741-2294 or emailing me firstname.lastname@example.org . Remember to contact me primarily about scheduling- for urgent mental health resources, there is a list available here
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, if you need an appointment and don’t have one, 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 information for 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.