As counselors, we show our clients the importance of managing their stress through developing coping skills. Some group lessons are geared towards building a toolbox filled with things to help them during difficult times such as the ones we are all facing now. However how often do we as counselors take our own advice and take a step back and take an inventory on our own mental health.
Speaking to our staff at Unity, some of them expressed how the stress of the recent events such as quarantine has affected them. They were asked to reflect on how they handled the stress during quarantine. Counselor Nikki M. stated: “During quarantine I was able to slow down and focus on taking care of me! I practiced yoga daily, took walks to the beach, read self-help books, and kept connected with friends and family with phone calls and FaceTime. I used mindfulness whenever I found myself worried about COVID-19 and the uncertainty of what was to come.” Nikki took a healthy approach to managing the high stress during these times. She was able to distract herself and the unpleasant thoughts by utilizing tools she would normally be showing her clients how to use to manage their everyday triggers.
Donna F., the assistant director, chimed in with how she managed working a taking care of her family during this time. She stated that “I’ve learned to pick a time and stick to it where I enjoy me time that calms me from the inside staying with jogging, reading, riding or other movement activity to de-stress my mind.” Donna incorporates a lot of physical activities into her groups when she is able to work with the clients. She believes in the mind-body connection and this holds true in her daily life as well.
All-in-all the staff at Unity Place appear to have a pretty robust set of tools to manage their stress during times of uncertainty. It’s safe to say that they are “experts” and the clients are lucky to have them.