Here With You: Mental health tips with Lilly Knopic

How do you think we are holding up currently? Do you have a sense of that, in terms of mental health? I think the primary concern is that this outbreak is creating problems that we cannot control. Isolation, cancellation of our pleasant events and activities, and then disruptions to our routines can increase stress significantly. And when we experience stress this is where unhelpful emotions anxiety, sadness, depressed mood can definitely begin to increase. This is a small tip, but it can have a great impact: At home I would schedule at least one pleasant event daily. Positive events increase positive emotions. What’s an example of a positive event you can schedule when you can’t leave home? Sure. Some people might reference it as self-care or self-soothing but generate things in your life that increase those helpful emotions: happiness, joy, calmness. I call this skill “taking a brief vacation.” A lot of us can’t take vacations right now but we can take a “vacation”: a walk to the mailbox, a short walk outside with your dog, unplugging from social media for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, maybe you’re on a lot of group text messages and it feels very overwhelming. Unplug. Enjoy a smoothie or a cup of coffee without multitasking. That’s a “vacation.” Take a shower with a really good shampoo or conditioner that smells a positive scent to you — that’s a “vacation.” It’s space and time for yourself to unplug from these unhelpful thoughts and news events that we’re hearing about. And another tip I would say, use self-encouragement. Find some sayings or some quotes that help you rethink situations. I can do this. I’m doing the best that I can in this moment. It won’t last forever. This too shall pass. I don’t have to like this, but I can survive it. Those are all sayings that I use pretty frequently with myself, almost to be a cheerleader for myself.

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