May is National Mental Health Month and it couldn’t come at a better time. There is so much going on in our lives, even without a world pandemic. I think we should get a free pass from additional everyday worries: no car accidents, no appliances that stop working, no pets getting sick, no ID thefts, no lost house keys or broken computers. However, life goes on.
Getting through our day and coping with Covid-19 is almost more than most of us can do. Yet here we are in the midst of loss of life, jobs, businesses, school, everyday routine, while missing the physical closeness of friends and family. Our go-tos of self care may be out of reach as well: nature, respite or meeting up with a friend to share a warm meal.
Last week I heard Kristie Brandt, CNM. DNP., of the Neurosequential Network share about the neurobiological need for reflection. She wisely shared that our brains need time and space to process what we are going through. And we do. We know that unprocessed traumatic experiences can mess up our physical and mental health. Uncertainty and stress is all around us; our brains need to process this or the residual may affect our bodies and minds. Perhaps you have already noticed your sleep is disturbed or you are more irritable. Processing takes time and requires us to be present and allow our brain to sort what we are experiencing to incorporate it into how we view ourselves and the world.
Making time and space is can be a challenge for most of us. Our homes may not provide the physical space we need to get away from our quarantine roommates. Our favorite spots might be occupied by homeschooling children or work from home partners. Finding time may be an issue as well. Some of us may be busier than ever while others may have so much time, they numb out with technology, food or substances.
Still, we need to reflect, our brains need to reflect.
The Taoist Proverb says:
We cannot see our reflection in running water.
It is only in still water that we can see.
Still water allows us to see our reflection. We are able to begin processing the uncertainty, grief, loss, and those welcome positives that seem to delightfully pop up out of nowhere.
When was the last time you reflected? How long has it been? I encourage you to give yourself some space. If need be, unplug. Be with your breath. Sit with your feelings. Allow your brain to process. Allow the feelings and thoughts to come and if need be, the tears.
You may process creatively through visual arts, music, and dance. You may journal. You may process while walking or exercising. You might meditate. You might take extra time in the shower or that long bubble bath. Listen to yourself. Allow the processing to take place.
Reflection may be overwhelming or too much for you at this time, which is understandable. Please reach out for help. If you need professional help, book that appointment.
Take care, be safe and reflect.
Remember there are free resources with people who would love to connect with you:
Reach Out Oregon 1-833-REACH-OR or 1-833-732-2467
Youth Line CALL 877-968-8491 TEXT ‘teen2teen’ to 839863 24/ help. 4-10 PM with teens
The Trevor Project for LBGTQ youth
Lines for Life 800-273-8255
211info.org CALL 211 or 1-866-698-6155 TEXT your zip code to 898211 (TXT211) firstname.lastname@example.org
Oregon Coalition https://www.ocadsv.org/find-help
Access Kristie’s entire presentation here:
Kristie Brandt | Neurosequential Network | COVID Series April, 10, 2020