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Self-Care Tips: Motion & Emotion

During this past week, I've been receiving messages from friends and family that are dealing with our quarantine situation in different ways.  Some people are embracing the "nesting" and cleaning their rooms and houses or doing crafty projects, whereas others are longing for social interaction and feeling lonely and isolated.  We are all going to respond differently and our feelings and thoughts may change day-by-day or hour-by-hour.

HONOR YOUR EMOTIONS

From a psychology perspective, whatever emotional response you might be having at any given moment is considered valid and understandable.  We are collectively experiencing something so new and unexpected that it would be strange if we didn't feel confused, disoriented, angry, resentful, sad, and worried.  As a clinical psychologist, one of my favorite types of therapy that I teach about is called Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT.  DBT says that we should "honor" our emotions and just let them happen instead of trying to push them away or avoid them.  If you are the kind of person who normally pushes through your feelings and tries to move on as quickly as possible, this might be a new idea for you.  We often don't want to sit with negative feelings because they are uncomfortable, but it is important for us to acknowledge these feelings and let ourselves experiences them.  If we let them flow through us, and don't try to stop them, they will come and eventually go, leaving us feeling less afraid for when they visit the next time.

One of DBT's principles is "radical acceptance" which is something that I've been working on and I think we all wish we could do with our current situation.  The idea is that we fully accept our life in this moment and let go of our expectations and frustrations when life is not what we want it to be.  Here is more information about radical acceptance and some examples of how it works:

https://psychcentral.com/blog/what-it-really-means-to-practice-radical-acceptance/

KEEP MOVING

So many of our Misericordia University students are athletes and play volleyball, soccer, ​football, lacrosse, basketball, and swim (and also e-sports which is new this year).  We also have many psychology majors that are interested in sports psychology which examines ways to enhance performance by changing thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.  Sports play a big role in the lives of many people, and you may be one of them. 

Claire Schoen MU Cross Country

 

Alicia Nordstrom doing yogaResearch shows--without a doubt that--exercise helps boost our mood (even for people with depression) and lower anxiety.  Of course, that is not easy to do when we are stuck in our houses.  Many gyms and studios are posting online videos for workouts and yoga and hopefully the weather will improve so we can spend more time outside.  Try to find time to move a little bit everyday through exercise and hopefully your body and emotions will feel better.

If you want to let me know what self-care activities you are doing, feel free to email me at anordstrom@misericordia.edu.

I'll be back next week with more self-care tips.  As always, I'm available for a video chat for anyone who might be interested.

Be sure to check out my prior blog post: Self-Care During Times of Stress.

 


About the Author

Alicia NordstromAlicia Nordstrom, Ph.D. is a college professor and department chair of the Psychology Department.  She is also an actor, director, and writer of theater and film.  She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from The Pennsylvania State University and is a Psychology professor at Misericordia University. She created The Voices Project and The Voices Project: Disability (Electric City/​​​Diamond City Best Theatrical Performance award in 2012).  Her most recent show, The Voices Project: Mental Health, was performed at the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival in NYC (#MUVoicesProject) and was broadcast on PBS as a documentary.  Alicia believes in the power of stories to reduce stigma and prejudice, a message that she spread through her TEDxLancaster talk on the “Fallacy of Normal and Beauty of Difference”.

 


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Posted by Dave Pasquini in Mental Health, Psychology on Tuesday April, 14 at 10:30AM
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Misericordia University hosted an interactive virtual faculty panel on Thursday April 30 to discuss COVID-19 and the wide-ranging impact this virus is having on our society.
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