I heard a reporter talk about cases of post-traumatic stress disorder growing during this pandemic and quarantine. I admit that I initially scoffed at the idea that our pandemic house arrest could be at all like the front line experiences of a veteran of war, but this week I looked up the definition of PTSD. Without getting overly clinical, PTSD involves:
- Mental and emotional stress as a result of psychological shock,
- Disturbance of normal sleep patterns, and
- Dulled responses to others and the outside world.
As with so many conditions, there are degrees of stress, so I would like you all to take your stress and the stress of others in your orbits seriously and work to dial it back. Stress in the body pushes your sympathetic nervous system to a state of “high alert.” This high alert affects your ability to sleep, your disposition and even your blood pressure. So, take your foot off the pedal with your own calming methods or try one of these that are available online:
- The Anxiety Toolkit – provides a range of relaxation techniques in a downloadable app, motivational messages and even a change to “ask an expert” any questions you may have.
- UCLA also offers applications with a “mindfulness meditations” application as well as weekly podcasts.
- A division of the American Psychological Association, covers a range of apps for stressed or traumatized individuals as well as those simply looking to enhance their own mental and physical wellness.
- Twenty Minutes and one second – is all this downloadable audio file takes to work with your breathing to relax you. It is greatly helped by a background sound, so headphones or ear buds are recommended.
Relieving stress is not a one and done, so allow yourself to experiment with what works best for you. We all will get through this with a bit more wellness. Please email (firstname.lastname@example.org) me with any questions on any of these…as well as how to take the next steps which is your plan. Do yourself a favor…don’t wait.
Charlotte Bishop is an Aging Life Care Advisor, Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Care Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago. She also is the co-author of How Do I Know You? A Caregiver’s Lifesaver for Dealing with Dementia.