Family Therapist: ‘Turn Off Your TV’

Kathleen Calabrese, CEO of nonprofit Brain-Body Technology Institute, offers nine tips to keep stress in check during the coronavirus pandemic

By Kathleen Calabrese

 Kathleen Calabrese, Ph.D., is a licensed marriage and family therapist and CEO of Brain-Body Health Technology Institute, a 501©3 corporation (www.bbht-institute.com).

Kathleen Calabrese, Ph.D., is a licensed marriage and family therapist and CEO of Brain-Body Health Technology Institute, a 501©3 corporation (www.bbht-institute.com).

1. Severely curtail the intake of the news. I never listen to the news; rather, I read it online. Over these past weeks, I have learned that taking in too much news, no matter how compelling it is, effects me like that fifth cup of coffee. It creates anxiety and interferes with sleep.

2. Talk to as many family members and friends via FaceTime, Zoom, Skype or any other way to see your loved ones. Hearing their voices and faces is in itself, comforting.

3. Be honest about how you are feeling. We no longer can pretend to ourselves or others. Expressing the truth of how you are feeling gives people a chance to support and comfort you, and you them.

4. Create a schedule for each day and then fully participate in each endeavor so, at the end of each day, you feel good about how you spent your day. Each day is precious.

5. Include some kind of exercise into your daily schedule. I have learned thousands of people want us to keep moving and they have created ways for us to connect with movement online. I am so grateful to those who are working to support each of us.

6. Keep a journal to track how you are feeling each day and note how it shifts as the day progresses. Note what lifts your spirits and what does not and vow to change so you can feel better.

7. If you love music, listen as much as you can. If you love to laugh, find some really funny YouTube videos, watch funny movies, and feel free to just laugh out loud throughout the day. It is OK to do that and you will feel great.

8. Breathe, breathe, breathe. This is so important to calm yourself down when looking at bleak financial numbers, wondering about your job and career, concerned about sick relatives and friends and the list goes on. Just stop, sit down, close your eyes and take a slow, deep breath, hold for the count of four, and exhale slowly. Do this three or four times at a time several times a day and especially before you go to bed at night.

9. Be positive and pray. While it may look bleak all around us, remember this too shall pass and you have so much to look forward. Remember, positive thoughts equal positive results and say a prayer to whom you worship.

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