The Network held its first live virtual event on May 13, and it was a huge success. Guest speakers Dr. Shelly Farnan and Jana Greig from Burrell Behavioral Health talked to members about the current COVID-19 situation and how it’s affecting us. They then led us through some practical exercises to improve our mental health.
What We Know
Dr. Farnan says our brains need self-care and connection in order to stay healthy, because we’re constantly assessing our current situation for safety – so in that respect, physical distancing can be detrimental. But we also must be intentional in our approach. We are in a state of grieving for many reasons, but we all grieve that life has changed so dramatically.
What can we do to seek help? We learn practical exercises to help ourselves and those around us when we are struggling.
Dr. Farnan shared the graphic you see below to help identify how we are feeling. You are asked to “rate the weight,” with 00 being at peace and 05 being the most anxious. These numbers can change constantly throughout the day. “We have to set the pandemic glass down,” Dr. Farnan said, and take time to refocus.
Here are five exercises to find peace in our anxious times:
1. Two-word check-in: This is a simple exercise many organizations could start doing. Dr. Farnan simply asked attendees to put two words in the chat box sharing how they are feeling right now. Network members noted they were excited and anxious, expectant and blessed, grateful and weary.
2. Practice breathing: This exercise used an online tool to guide us through two minutes of “deep belly” breathing – another simple exercise you can do all throughout your day.
3. Art therapy: This one can look different depending on the situation. In our case, attendees drew a picture on one side of a piece of paper that brought us peace. On the other side, we wrote a note of encouragement to our future selves.
4. Laugh club: Don’t forget that laughing is a form of therapy! We learned in this exercise that even just the act of laughing, but especially laughing with a group of people, can help calm our spirits.
5. Dance party: It’s not often you attend a YP event and get to have a dance party, but this time we did! Even if you don’t consider yourself a dancer, putting on some fun music and moving around can do wonders for your mental health.
May is Mental Health Month, and we can’t think of a better way to honor that than offering our members practical ways to improve their mental health – not just during this unprecedented crisis, but at all times.SHARE: