Posted: March 24, 2020
Coping with Stress and Social Distancing During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak
Effective Sunday, 3/22/2020 NYC-CT’s physical office location is closed. All NYCCT services will be conducted via telehealth in an attempt to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. At this time, we are uncertain when our office will reopen for in-person services. The health and safety of our clients and staff is our top priority and we will notify you of updates as we receive them. If you are a current group client and would like to schedule time to meet individually in order to reinforce the skills covered in group, please let your therapist know and they will assist you in scheduling. Our hope is to continue to provide individual treatment to our clients with minimal disruption. We are still accepting new clients, and all intake assessments will be performed via video conference or phone.
NYC Cognitive Therapy is starting a new Virtual CBT Skills Group in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The group will provide an opportunity to connect with others in this time of social distancing, gain support on new challenges you may be facing, and learn key CBT skills to help manage worry, stress, anxiety, and loss during this unprecedented time.
The group will meet virtually through video conferencing for 1 hour from 12-1pm (day to be confirmed with final group members). The group will meet for 8 weeks and will consist of 5 to 7 members. Individual group members will be expected to identify goals and complete related homework assignments outside of the group meetings as well. Sliding scale available. NYU insurance accepted.
If you would like more information or want to sign up for the group please e-mail [email protected] and provide your name and telephone number. We will then get in contact with you to answer any questions.
Here are 9 tips to help you cope:
1. Know What to Expect
A disease outbreak can be stressful, especially one in which we all need to closely monitor our health, stay home as much as possible, and avoid all unnecessary social (physical) interactions with others. Social distancing and isolation are likely to disrupt your work, your family life, the way you do things and the way you interact with others. This can add to the stress of the situation. Feeling overwhelmed, sad, anxious or afraid, or experiencing other symptoms of distress, such as trouble sleeping, is natural. You can reduce the negative impact of stress by anticipating normal reactions. Stress can affect the way you think, feel, and act. Most of the effects are normal reactions to distressing events and are generally short-lived. Here are some of the effects and symptoms you may experience:
-Physical effects: fatigue, exhaustion, headaches, rapid heartbeat or exacerbation (aggravation, increase, worsening), of preexisting medical conditions
-Emotional effects: feelings of sadness, anxiety, anger, agitation or irritability
-Mental effects: confusion, forgetfulness, or difficulty concentrating or making decisions
-Behavioral effects: experiencing uncharacteristic behaviors such as becoming restless, argumentative or short-tempered, or changes in eating and sleeping patterns.
2. Stay Informed
Use credible sources of information about the disease outbreak to stay up to date on what is happening, understand the risks and know how to best protect yourself. Avoid sharing unconfirmed news or acting on rumors, as this adds to misinformation, fear and panic. For information about COVID-19, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus.
3. Limit Screen Time and Exposure to Media
Too much time on the phone or computer, or watching or listening to news reports 24 hours a day, seven days a week, can increase anxiety and fear. Seek updates and guidance two or three times per day.
4. Keep Connected and Reach Out
Stay connected with family, friends and your social networks using communications such as email, social media, video conference, telephone, FaceTime or Skype. Consider calling a neighbor or older adults and people who live alone that you know to see how they are doing and show you care.
5. Maintain Daily Routines
Keeping routines gives us sense of control and can reduce anxiety. Try as much as possible to keep daily routines or create new ones, if needed, to help you cope with the changes.
6. Stay Positive
Focus on things you are grateful for and things that are going well in your life. Get courage and inspiration from positive stories of people who are finding ways to cope and remain strong.
7. Be Proactive About Your Basic Needs and Financial Stressors
Advocate for yourself to make sure you have what you need, such as food and medication, and to be safe and comfortable. If you are unable to work, contact your employer and discuss any options for leave. Contact companies that send you monthly bills and request different payment arrangements.
8. Be Thoughtful and Sensitive
Avoid assumptions and blame about who has the disease because of the way they look or where they or their families are from. There is no connection between race/ethnicity and infectious diseases. Speak up when you hear false rumors or negative stereotypes that encourage or promote racism and xenophobia.
9. Seek Help
An infectious disease outbreak such as COVID-19 can be stressful for you, your loved ones, and your friends. As mentioned, it is natural to feel overwhelmed, sad, anxious and afraid, or to experience other symptoms of distress, such as trouble sleeping. To lower your stress and manage the situation contact us. We offer individual, couple, and group therapy.
Best wishes, Noah Clyman, LCSW-R, ACT, [email protected]