What to Expect: Returning to Our Personal Lives

Posted Jun 26, 2020


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Get tips for coping well as you venture out into life outside your home again.

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We'll start in just a few moments. Okay, hello everybody and welcome to What to Expect: Returning to our Personal Lives. My name is Gracie Lichtenstein and I'm going to be your facilitator for today's session. I'm really glad that you're here. Let me tell you why. I'm a holistic psychotherapist and I've been doing this work, whether it's therapy, coaching, consulting, training, speaking for 22 years now, so I've actually surpassed that 20 year mark. Woo hoo. 22 years. And in that time, I've worked with organizations and individuals in 49 states and in 13 foreign countries helping them become healthier, more productive and reduce their stress.

And we've needed this for a while, right? So I've been very, very busy and now that we're looking at some of the changes that are occurring in terms of us getting back to maybe some sort of normal type of stuff, how do we navigate that? A lot of people are struggling with some of these other transitions. I'm going to give you some tools, some resources, some things to be aware of that we can continue, like I said, navigating these transitions, going through these changes that are continuing in our lives as best we can, as healthily as we can.
Now, one of the things I want to point out, it's really cool that I've been doing this for so long.

The problem with this is that because I've been doing this for so long, everything that I say, it makes perfect sense to me in my head. If at any point there are any issues that doesn't make sense to you, if you have a question or anything, use that chat function. If what I say doesn't make sense, let me know. If you have a question, if you have a comment, if you want to go ahead and share resources. Even if you completely disagree with what I have to say, if you could let me know that, that would be awesome. Go ahead and use that chat feature. You don't have to wait until the end.

We will have a few minutes at the end for any last questions or anything, but I actually prefer if you didn't wait til the end. One reason is if you're anything like me, and you have to wait, are you going to remember? I don't. I have a 15 second memory. It's going to be gone. So go ahead and throw that there in the chat.

The other thing is is that I really want to be able to go ahead and give you the absolute best response possible, and context really helps with that. If you have a question, if you have a comment, you throw it in the chat. I'll see it, I'll finish saying what I'm saying and then I can go to what you put in there and probably give you a better response because I know the context. I know what prompted it. So, go ahead and do that and if you don't want to go ahead and have everybody read that, you can make it to the presenter. That's me, and I will see it and I'll address it and then I won't name any names. Please go ahead and use that chat feature lots, especially since this is a very general presentation because I want to make sure we cover all the big concepts.

You might have some specific issues, some specific questions that I want to make sure that you get addresses. I know what I want to get out of today, but I don't live in your head, so if you'd help me out with that, that would be awesome. Okay, so as we go through this information, anything that you want to add, you want to go to, just let me know.

What to expect returning to our personal lives ... Thank you very much.

Okay, first thing is that we are not going back to the normal that was. I think you know that. Just all the changes that have occurred, we're not going to go back. Partly because we can't unexperience what we've experienced. I don't even know if that's a word, but we're in a different place so we can't go back. Some of the things we want to go ahead and look at are the things that really were beneficial to us, some of the things that we were focusing on that we could really use in the future. When we're talking about health stuff, there's some stuff that's specific to coronavirus and COVID-19, but there's some things that we probably should be doing regularly anyway, like washing our hands. Some of us have washed our hands more in the last few months than we have the entirety of the rest of our lives. That's something we should do.

Some of these things we've learned we should go ahead and continue doing them anyway. It's healthier. Some of these things, we want to be aware because we're not pretending, "Oh, we're back to the way it was. Let's do all the things we used to do." No, we still need to be aware of these things and make sure that we're taking care of ourselves and we're taking care of our community. Taking temperature regularly. If you've been out and about, if in your area, you can go ahead and do that, you'll notice that if you're going into a lot of these places in the public spaces that they're taking your temperature before you go in there. So, that's something we want to go ahead and continue doing, taking the temperature regularly. I mentioned the washing hands, which oh by the way, I don't know if you know this. This is something I've been talking about through the whole time, and I think it's really cool that I'm educating some people. You might not know this.

Did you know that we're supposed to wash our hands for 20 seconds? Yeah, you're nodding your head, "Yeah, I get it." Okay, did you know that the 20 seconds is when we have the soap on our hands. It's not 20 seconds under the water. It's the soap that kills stuff, so we wet our hands so we can lather up and it's the lathering that's 20 seconds and then we rinse off. Yeah, yeah, some of you learned something right now. We want to go ahead washing our hands diligently and we continue practicing the social distancing. We're at the point now, and hopefully this is going to go ahead and continue where with the social distancing, it is safer to be out and about, but it's not completely and totally safe. We want to make sure that we're continuing to do that, and you'll notice again a lot of public places in public spaces are mandating that.

For those of you that have kids, I know that for me we've already gotten information about in the fall some of the things, some of the options that we're going to do and they all involve some sort of social distancing for the school. That's going to continue. Go ahead and support this. Again, it's not just for us. It's for our community. We're going to limit those large groups. In a little bit, we'll be talking about having a reunion. I don't mean by 200 people of your nearest and dearest. We want to go ahead and continue to limit those large groups. And this next one is something again just like the washing hands, this is something we should be doing anyway. This is just a really good idea. You want to go ahead and boost your immune system. Now, let me give you some suggestions and some things that you might not know. Being a holistic psychotherapist, this is my thing right here in this bullet point.

Some suggestions about the sleeping. One of the things is is that we as human beings, as adults, we need approximately seven and a half hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. Most adult Americans get four to six, so if you've actually been able to sleep a little bit more because your routine has changed and you're able to do that, you might consider what you can do in the future as we change back to still get about that seven and a half hours. Now, some people do need less but people who need less, it's genetic. If your parents never needed a lot of sleep, you don't need a lot of sleep, your kids don't need a lot of sleep, okay. And if you were even like this as a child, but most of us learn to deal with lack of sleep. Most of have normalized fatigue. Most adult Americans do have some level of sleep deprivation. If you've noticed that you've been getting more sleep and you feel better, what can you do to go ahead and continue that as we change back?

The other thing, I don't know if you knew this, our immune system, whether it's our psychological or our physical immune system, works best, works most when we're asleep. It works during the day, or when we're awake, but it works best when we're asleep so we want to go ahead and continue boosting our immune systems, our psychological and our physical immune systems, by getting that sleep. And, our littles and our teenagers need more sleep. Your teenager that's been getting nine hours of sleep, this might be the only time in the history of their high school career that they're actually going to get some sleep there.

Oh yes, a question here. Can we discuss the anxiety associated with the unknown of the new normal with school? I have a fifth grader and a third grader. Yes, we will absolutely be discussing that in a little bit. It's downright scary for a lot of our kids. Great question.

Okay, so we're sleeping. Try to get that sleep. If our kids have been getting a lot more sleep, especially if they're littles or teenagers, they need it. See if we can go ahead and continue doing that somehow, so make sure you get the sleep. We also want to go ahead and eat well. Our first medicine is food. I'm not going to tell you how to eat, like Keto or vegan, whatever. I do want you to go ahead and reduce, if not eliminate, caffeine, nicotine and processed sugar. Yeah, I know. I know. Don't do it all at once. That would be awful, but you want to go ahead and taper it down. Those are all addictive substances and they ding our immune system. Add your super foods, your leafy greens, your blueberries, your dark chocolate. Not milk chocolate. There's too much sugar. Dark chocolate. 87% or higher is actually considered therapeutic and it helps with things like symptoms of depression, anxiety. Oh, it helps with the food and nicotine cravings.

So, if you're going to give up the sugar and the smoking, it can actually help with that. If you're taking a fish oil supplement, it can help lower cholesterol. Research suggests that daily ingestion of dark chocolate helps prevent the formation of almost 25 different types of cancer. Super food.

Oh, here's a good one. Can you recommend a website that offers healthy meal plans? That is the hard part for me. Okay, I said I'm not going to tell you how to eat but let me go ahead and give you a suggestion as a base. One of the sites ... Now, I'm not vegan. I just want to let you know that but one of the sites that I love, it's called Forks over Knives, and it's a vegan website and it gives you menus and everything else like that. You can make these and you can add what you want to it.

You can add the eggs or the chicken or the beef, but all these things are really healthy and it gives you an idea ... it gives you a lot of options for different flavors and things like that so you can find out the foods that you like. And they even give you planning, weekend preparation so it makes it easier during the week. I'm not saying you have to go vegan because for a lot of people, that's just not an option, but it's a really cool place to start. It gives you a lot of really good information. That's the one I like. The other one that a lot of people are familiar with is MyPlate.gov. Obviously, it's a government website and it talks about healthy eating, gives you suggestions, things like that. Those are two that I like. Then, if you want to be tracking stuff, MyFitnessPal, SparkPeople, all those apps will give you the information in terms of the calorie use and the fat and everything else like that. You can go ahead and track that.

Yeah, so absolutely. You're not vegan, but you'll add meat? Yes, and some of the recipes you might be surprised about how you don't need to, which is also a little bit better on your budget, too. Okay, let's see. There's another question. Green tea. Yes, green tea is actually a super food, so go for it. Absolutely. I don't know if you knew this but coffee is also a super food. 24 ounces of coffee a day helps reduce your risk for things like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, some forms of heart disease and colon cancer. You can do decaf. Absolutely. You're thinking why? Who wants the plain? It's the oils in the coffee that makes it a super food so it's really healthy as long as you're not adding a bunch of junk to it. So what I do is that I add a scoop of 100% dark chocolate powder to my coffee in the morning. Yes, and then some coconut oil to make it a little bit sweeter.

Let's see. Green tea, that's good. Let's see what else we have here. Oh, is there such a thing as letting our kids sleep too much? Absolutely, just with anything else, especially if there's a mental health issue because one of the first places mental health issues pop up is in eating and in sleeping, and it can go both ways.
Eating, I don't know if you knew this. Did you know that some people when they get stressed out, they lose their appetite. Yeah, not me. For me, when I'm stressed out, if it's slow enough for me to catch, I'm eating it. And, it's never the healthy stuff. It's not like I'm craving asparagus, "Oh, give me more of that stuff." It's the pizza and ice cream. So, it can be both ways. And it's the same thing with sleep. Sometimes people, they can't sleep. They can't fall asleep, they can't stay asleep or they're sleeping too much. You can go ahead, there's plenty of resources out there that talk about healthy sleep patterns and based on where we are developmentally, how much sleep we need.

Now sometimes, especially for our high schoolers, they haven't been getting enough sleep the first couple weeks. It seemed like they were sleeping 12 hours. They should be getting about nine hours, ish. If they're getting more consistently, it could be a sign of a mental health issue so you might want to go ahead and get that checked out. But the other thing, too, is that some people do naturally need more sleep so I'd go ahead and just be aware of that and if it's consistently a lot, a lot of sleep, just go ahead and consider that there's something else going on but sometimes they're just catching up.

Oh okay, really good question here. Would you suggest using benzo meds to help sleep? Okay, I am firm believer in the benefits of pharmacology. Absolutely. And, be really, really careful about benzodiazepines for sleep. They're highly, highly addictive and most of those meds are designed for short-term use, two to three days. Not weeks, months or years. Did you know that heroin withdrawal, unless you have co-occurring medical disorder, is not fatal. It feels like it is, but it's not. Benzodiazepine withdrawal and barbiturate withdrawal, both of which are prescribed for sleep, are so addictive that withdrawal can be fatal. Yeah, so if you've been on that benzo for a long time, don't go cold turkey. Your body is not going to enjoy that very much so go ahead and talk to your physician about it. If there's anything else that you can go ahead and do other than that, it's just because of the addictive properties of it, I would just be really aware.

I used to be a drug counselor as well, so be careful with the benzos. Oh my gosh, okay. Another great question. If we can not get more uninterrupted sleep because you have a teething baby and an almost four year old with night terrors ... Oh, that's tough ... what can we use beside caffeine to stay awake and attentive during the day? As an aside, when you get a chance can you go ahead and there's a website, it's called EmoFree.com and it's for a protocol called Emotional Freedom Technique, EFT tapping. That can actually help your little one with the night terrors. My daughter had night terrors about that age, actually a little bit younger, and I'm an EFT practitioner. It helped clear them up in two nights, so that might be a technique you might want to go ahead and look at. But yes, so how do you deal with that?

Okay, the ideal is that we get the seven and half hours worth of sleep in one shot. Sometimes two little ones, it's not going to happen. I'm a firm believer in naps. Absolutely. If it were up to me, we would all be getting a nap about 2:00 in the afternoon. Yep, yep, yep. When you all get back to work, you can tell your boss, "Boss, Gracie said ..." Your boss is going to go, "Who's Gracie?" Taking a 20 to 30 minute nap about 2:00 in the afternoon, it actually helps our brain and our body. That's how we're hardwired to do. We have a dip in energy normally in the afternoon, so the best thing is if you can get it all at once at night. Sometimes it's just not possible because of life stuff. Naps are good.

And, I also do recommend, if you can, move away from the caffeine because of the withdrawal, because of the drop. Talk to your primary care provider about your levels of things like magnesium and Vitamin D. Both of those impact brain function, immune system, our energy, stuff like that, and look into some of those things because a lot of times our sleepiness because our schedule is magnified by vitamin and mineral deficiency. Most Americans have some sort of vitamin or mineral deficiency, partly because we don't eat well and partly because of the way food is processed. It kills a lot of the stuff that's in the food. So, that's something.

The other thing is is that if you practice meditation, and there's tons of apps and resources for that as well, if you get into a good meditative practice, if you meditate and you get into that deep relaxed state for 20 minutes, in terms of how it impacts your brain and your body, it's almost the equivalent of two hours of sleep. Yeah. Now, don't purposely replace sleep with meditation. Add. Add it to your life. Go ahead and do what you can, have your doc check your Vitamin D and magnesium levels and just in general your overall levels and do some meditation.

Eventually, they will grow up and you may some day get some sleep. I remember how this was with mine.

Okay, let's see. My daughter will soon be starting college in Massachusetts. What is the state of college campuses in Massachusetts, and she would be worried about COVID? I don't know. I'm based out of Chicago, so I'm most looking at Illinois and what's going here, but all the state agencies have information out there and you can go ahead and Google about COVID in Massachusetts and they'll give you a bunch of links to the decisions that they're making. Should we be worried about COIVD? My response is you should be aware of COVID. We're not pretending it's going away. It's not, and we can be aware of the precautions and the recommendations that people are taking. And, it does vary. Decisions can be changing over the next few weeks and few months. So go ahead and look at the individual state stuff. It'll give you that information.

How effective are immune deficiency supplements as Emergen-C? If you are deficient, that's one way to do it because the Emergen-C has the mega doses anywhere from 500 milligrams to I think what? 3000 milligrams? I can't remember. They have different packets there. One of the things that again I would talk to your physician about this because there's a whole bunch of research about everything we were talking the antioxidants and how it's wonderful and free radicals. It's actually not as effective, as powerful as a lot of people have implied over the years. As a matter of fact, the recommendations are changing around that in terms of mega doses of Vitamin C. Again, I would talk to your physician about that and see what your body needs because a lot of times too much, our body just flushes it out anyway.

But there is some information about all the antioxidants saying it's not as beneficial as other people have suggested in the past. Does tea have the same benefits as you described for coffee? Not specifically in terms of the dementia and things like that, but tea, especially the green teas, the healthy stuff that's more expensive, it is a super food as well and it has just amazing results for things like our immune system and brain function. If you pick up tea, especially if it's away from soda and things like that, that is a great idea. And, there's a lot of really good tea out there. Find out what you like, what tastes good.

Coffee, tea, chocolate, what's the recommended level of caffeine? None. There's no nutritional recommendation for caffeine, and for many people, it can really disrupt sleep. The half-life for caffeine in terms of how it impacts us is much longer than a lot of people are aware. A lot of people think that's caffeine is impacting them when they still feel the excitement, when they still have the stimulant response. But it actually affects things like brain function and sleep for many more hours after that. So, a lot of the recommendations is if you're going to go to sleep around 10:00 or something like that, is not have a lot of caffeine after noon. Now, the dark chocolate does have small amounts of caffeine and I find that it doesn't impact my sleep, so I have it in the morning with my coffee, my decaf coffee. And then I have another scoop in my smoothie at night.

I find that I don't get a stimulant response from it, and it doesn't affect my sleep. But go ahead and figure that out, realizing that there's no nutritional recommendation around caffeine and it does impact our brain function for much longer than we thought. Whenever you can do decaf, I recommend decaf.

Okay, let's see. How about melatonin for sleep? You guys are great. I'm loving all these questions. Melatonin for sleep, this is something else I want you to be careful of. Number one because it's not regulated, so you don't always know what you're getting. If you're going to get melatonin, get stuff that you can go to the company's website and it'll say whether or not their stuff is inspected by a neutral third-party. That's what you're looking for, so you make sure you know what you're getting. What it says on the bottle is actually what you're getting.

The other thing is that melatonin is an brain chemical, and a lot of times, people they're at the pharmacy and they're looking and they go, "Oh, okay. Here's the largest dose. Let me get that." No, you actually want to get the smallest dose because if you take too much it can cause your brain will say, "This is too much" and respond with a stimulant action, which is exactly the opposite of what you're trying to do. The other thing is it's not a sedative like the benzodiazepine. It's not going to knock you out, so you have to take it and be in bed calming down, getting ready, within 20 to 30 minutes. Otherwise, there's not really going to be much of an impact. Now for some people, especially with some neurological differences, I know a lot of people that are on the autism spectrum that find melatonin really helpful. ADHD, things like that. It can be really, really helpful. I always recommend the recommendation by your physician on that.

And you know how I mentioned Vitamin D and magnesium earlier? That actually helps with sleep. Okay again, it's not going to knock you out, but they found that if you have the appropriate levels, you end up sleeping better. Just again, be careful with any of those over-the-counter stuff. Okay, let's see. What's your opinion of cod liver oil? To be honest, I don't know enough about it to say. I've heard good things, I've heard not good things about it. Unfortunately, I can't give you an answer on that one. Sorry. Okay, let's see. Emergen-C, cod liver oil. Oh, the website for EFT? You know what? I'm just going to go ahead and put that in the comments. It's EmoFree.com, which is an awful name, isn't it? For a website? But, it's really good. The person who developed it, Gary Craig, it's his website. A lot of really good stuff there.

Can you please repeat what might help with the night terrors? Yeah, it's called Emotional Freedom Technique, and it's an energy psychology technique that is really, really effective. Daily consumption of sweets and chocolate? Be very aware of processed sugar. Processed sugar is an addictive substance, and anybody that's gone through withdrawal knows exactly what I'm talking about on that. One of the super foods you can do is you can replace it is things like dark chocolate. 87% or higher. I just get 100% dark chocolate powder from Amazon and just use that for a little bit. A lot of times people will say, "Well, how much do you use?" Well, it's bitter so you're not going to typically eat a whole bunch of it. I have a tablespoon in the morning in my coffee and a tablespoon at night in my smoothie.

Okay, let's see. Oh, somebody was just talking about meditation. They love the UCLA Mindful app. Oh, I'm going to have to check that out. Thank you. Hold on, I'm writing that done. Okay.

What about Essential Oils as supplements? I love Essential Oils. There's a lot of really good things out there, like the effect of things like Stieve's. You might be familiar with Stieve's Essential Oil. Really good stuff. Again, anything that you're taking into your body that impacts your body, including your brain function and your immune system, get people on board. Talk to your primary care physician about that because here's the thing, people think Essential Oils are good but relatively harmless. Did you know that if you have a seizure disorder, like epilepsy, having peppermint oil diffused around you can trigger a seizure?

These things can have a strong impact on our bodies, so do a lot of the research on there. I don't recommend doing anything that impacts you. Just throwing it out there. Do the research and there's plenty stuff out there about Essential Oils and its impact on things like our immune system and our brain function. Always, whenever you're doing this, talk to your primary care provider so they know because you can be taking other medications that interferes and have some complications.

Oh, my gosh. You guys are giving me such great information. I use coffee crudea, C-R-U-D-E-A, for sleep. I got it from my homeopathic doctor. It's amazing. Oh, I'm going to check that out, too. SSR's for hot flashes. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. It's an antidepressant and for some people, it can help with hot flashes. All that stuff is connected, but also talk to your primary care provider about evening primrose oil. Not the oil, that's gross. Get it in capsules. The thing is that evening primrose oil is contraindicated if you're on certain SSRI's. But there are a lot of holistic options if somebody didn't want a prescription. I was on SSRI's for a number of years. Really, really helpful. Talk to your doc about that.

Okay, I'm currently taking a couple medications for anxiety. My doctor is going to start the process to take me off the Klonopin. I'm on the lowest dose. I have a horrible time sleeping and I've taken over-the-counter sleep aid along with the Klonopin for a couple years. I'm nervous about coming off the Klonopin simply for the sleep aspect. Yes, absolutely because you know you're not adding that to your brain right now. I do recommend, try some of the medication stuff. Calm is a great one and it helps with sleep. Try some of the other stuff as you're weaning off the Klonopin. As the one is going down, the other stuff is bringing up and again, talk to your primary care person about some other things like food prescriptions. Sometimes you can do that and that can help. And, Vitamin D.

What about honey versus sugar? Okay, the more processed anything it is, the less healthy it is. Folks, even raw sugar, it's still processed. You're not sucking on the cane. The more processed it is and the whiter it is, the less likely it is to be healthy. Honey, especially organic honey, especially organic honey with the comb still in it, actually is a super food. It is an incredible thing in terms of antibacterial properties. If you have allergies, getting locally sourced organic honey can help your system react differently to the allergies. It can help get rid of your allergies for that, especially for seasonal stuff. It's awesome.

And did you know honey is the only food that never spoils? They've actually found honey in the pyramids in Egypt and it's still good. I mean, it's crystallized but it's still good.

Not the stuff in the bear. That's stuff that water's added to it. Actually locally sourced, organic honey is actually a medicine. Absolutely. So definitely honey versus sugar, but you don't want to have too much of it.

Okay, great questions, folks. I love talking about all ... And again, this isn't just for what we're going through now. This is just general healthy stuff. Oh, another suggestion in the comments. Insight timer. Yes, I forgot about that. Insight Timer is a great mindfulness meditation app and it's free. There are guided meditations for thousands of different topics. Absolutely. Love Insight Timer. I haven't used it in a while. I'm going to have to go back to use it.

And yes, you will all be getting a link to the recording of this. Any advice on how to move away from sugar? You said don't do it fast? Yeah, just start cutting it down, being aware and using apps like SparkPeople or MyFitnessPal, and just set ... Say, "I'm going to go ahead and cut it down by 10% a day, or 10% this week." You'll notice when you're going in withdrawal because you're going to be cranky. And just be aware of it, a little crankiness isn't that bad. Boost your water. You'll feel a little bit better, but take your time to go ahead and do it. If you eat a lot of sugar, give yourself a few weeks to do that because otherwise sugar withdrawal just stinks.

Oh, Rescue Remedy Oil for anxiety. I have heard of it. I've never used it, but if you're interested, go ahead and look into it. Like I said, these Essentials, they can have really powerful, powerful impacts on the brain. As a matter of fact, let me run ... You guys are my favorite group all week. Let me run and see what the oil is. Oh shoot, he took it with him. I was going to check to see what my husband uses, but he took it with him. Okay, so things like Essential Oil, because they can pass the blood barrier and it can affect the brain very strongly, both positively and negatively, it can have some really strong impacts.

Honey is also great for a hangover. I've never had that comment. Okay, recently learned about the tapping technique. Yes, that's the Emotional Freedom Technique for anxiety. I love it. That's my primary modality when I work with my trauma clients. Okay, let's see. I'll go ahead and send you some information there. Okay, how we doing? Okay, we're doing great on time. Wow, you guys are my favorite this week. Thank you for all those questions. And again, this isn't stuff just dealing with right now. These are lifestyle changes that we can go ahead and make that we're healthier overall, and obviously there's a big interest in the food, which makes me so happy.

Okay, so we're sleeping well, we're eating well. We also need to be moving. Have you heard sitting is the new smoking? And it actually is in terms of shortening our life span, so we need to be moving a bunch. So, make sure that we're getting the exercise and even at the peak of all this social isolation ... I do the stairs. Just go up and down the stairs ... stand when you can when you're working and take breaks. Take lots of breaks. Lots and lots of breaks. Have I mentioned breaks? I think I might have brought it up. Folks, seriously. I want you to be taking breaks now and then for the foreseeable future. If it were up to me, it'd be every 15 minutes. At the most, every hour. It's not a full 15 minute break because you'd be on break all day. This can simply be that if you've been sitting, you stand up, you stretch, you breathe ... I'll teach you how to do that in just a moment ... and then you walk around for at least three minutes. 180 seconds.

Research suggests that if you take a break every 30 to 60 minutes ... Now, I want you to do every 15 if you're feeling stressed out, but research says every 30 to 60 minutes, if you stand up, you stretch, breathe, you walk around for at least three minutes, you can reduce your sedentary risks up to 50%.
Now, I'm going to go ahead and I have some more stuff in the comments. Oh, thank you. Somebody's saying can we move on? Are there more slides? Yes, absolutely there are. Okay, somebody else was saying Rescue Remedy B12. A lot of us are B deficient. Find a good apothecary. Right, absolutely. They know what they're doing. Wonderful.

Okay, so let me teach you how to breathe, and then yes, we'll be moving on to the rest of the slides. Thank you for that. Okay, so if you can all sit up straight. As straight as you can, don't hurt yourself. Now I want you to go ahead and relax your shoulders. Gently relax your shoulders. Don't force them down. Some of you are so stressed that your shoulders are jacked up by your ears. Don't force them down. That can actually trigger anxiety which is the opposite of what we're trying to do. Straight spine, soft shoulders. Now, when you breathe in, be very gentle with your body. When you breathe in, imagine that there's a string coming from your belly button and when you inhale, the string pulls your tummy out. So breathe in, belly out. That's called belly breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing. It activates your parasympathetic nervous system. Opiates and dopamine start flowing. It feels good.

Most of us though are all tense, and when we breathe in, our tummies go in. That's crisis breathing. You've probably heard it referred to as fight or flight. Activates your sympathetic nervous system. Adrenaline and cortisol start flowing. We don't need to be adding adrenaline to this. Cortisol, if we get too much cortisol in our system over a period of time, there's a lot of funky things like brain function, including memory. Have you noticed you haven't been able to remember anything lately? Yeah, stress response. It dings our immune system, which we don't want to be doing. And, it forces our body in that type of crisis to retain fat, specifically belly fat. You're breathing is making you fat.

Some of you are thinking, "Okay, okay, this is good." So make sure that you're taking those breaks. Make sure that you're breathing, and continue to be vigilant with the home cleaning. Again, a lot of this stuff we probably should have been doing anyway. The other big thing I want you to be aware of as we're moving through this ... and now we're moving on to the rest of the slides ... is finances. We as human beings have a tendency to swing back and forth, don't we? Like a pendulum. For a lot of us, we haven't been spending money. For a lot of us, we haven't even been buying gas and stuff like that. Well now we can and I've heard so many people saying, "We're going to do this, we're going to do this. We're going to do this and we're going to do this." Okay, how about take it easy?

Number one because you don't want to get overwhelmed with stuff but the other thing is that be aware of the impact on finances. A lot of times we spend to make ourselves feel better. Think about how many of parts of our lives that we enjoy, it costs money. Underspend when possible. Keep an eye on your credit score. Make sure that the family is part of the decisions, which again these are things that we should be doing anyway. Fiscal awareness, budgeting, things like that. Be aware of any expenses, budgeting, [inaudible 00:38:58] to come that you might have gotten out of the habit or this is something that you need to do. Again, patterns that we should be doing anyway but especially in this time because we as human beings have a tendency to swing back and forth. This might be an issue that hits us pretty hard, so be prepared for that.

The other thing is, and this is my thing, being a mental health person, be aware that we're still going to have these roller coaster of emotions because we're not going back to the way it was. So, there's still a lot of transition. There's still a lot of change and we go from feeling hopeful to being terrified. I've talked to a lot of people that ... As a matter of fact, one of my clients was talking about going back to the office, she doesn't know if she can go back to the office and have everybody there wearing masks. She said, "As a matter of fact, our company is talking about having everyone wear those shields, the face shields." She goes, "I think that would freak me out too much."

So part of us is like, "Okay, let's do this," and folks, it's perfectly normal to be swinging back and forth between these emotions. It's perfectly normal to be, "Yes, finally," deep breath, and, "Do I really want to do this?" The other thing I want you to be aware of ... and it's listing the extreme emotions; despondent, fear, rage, hopelessness. The other thing I want you to be aware of are feelings of grief and loss. We've all lost something. If it's something as mundane as our daily routine to some of us have experienced death loss. We all are experiencing some of this. Part of the issue that we're struggling with this is because for a lot of us, we're in a holding pattern and we haven't been able to fully experience these feelings. So, what you might find is a few weeks from now, a few months from now, even a year from now, you might notice that these feelings just come up.

Where did this come from? Well, they've been there. It's just more in that holding pattern, our brain, our nervous system, our psyche doesn't feel safe going through that process because we're still in it ... through the process of feeling the feelings because we're still in the situation that's triggering it. So, we're having all those different feelings and going back and forth and that's normal. You can go ahead and expect it. It's okay. It's supposed to happen.

Oh, can you speak to the benefits of crying? Yes. Folks, let's just go ahead and break that rule that boys don't cry and that adults aren't supposed to cry. That's a bunch of hooey. When we have feelings, these are chemical reactions in our body. If we don't process these chemical reactions, these chemicals sit in our body and they get all gross, they get nasty, they get pus-y. I mean, not literally but how about that for a visual? Some of the ways that these feelings come out is by purposeful action, like doing something about it, talking about it, it can be actually talking with someone, it could be journaling, breathing, like I just taught you how to do, and crying. That is a major way that some of these uncomfortable feelings get out of our body.

Did you know that the chemical composition of tears of laughter is different than the chemical composition of tears of sadness? You can be watching a comedian or a funny movie or whatever and laughing so hard that you're crying, your eyes will never get red because they don't have the chemicals in them, these tears of happiness, of joy. They don't have those chemicals that make your eyes red. Obviously, crying from sadness, our eyes get red pretty quickly because that's the way the chemicals are coming out. So, let yourself get a good cry. When my daughter, my 11 year old and she's having the meltdown and she's crying and snot everywhere, I'm like, "I'd like to do that but it's not socially acceptable for adults to cry and have snot everywhere." But, sometimes we need it, so let yourself feel those feelings.

Okay, let's see. And, do allow yourself to feel the feelings, even the comfortable ones. It doesn't mean you're minimizing what's going on. There's life. We want to go ahead and experience life, the whole of it. Let's see.
Now, family time. We want to go ahead and be aware there's a lot of things that have come up during this process that we probably want to keep. Some of the things, like the way we interact with each other. My husband, he's into baseball. Yeah, I know, there's not been any baseball. He's home here. He's here. He's been here. It's weird. And, I'm so supportive of, "Honey, when they make a decision, you get to go back to work." I love having him here and it is different, and because it's been a different dynamic ... We've been together since '06, so 14 years. This is different, and we've been able to look at our relationship differently, and there's a lot of things that I want to take with.

The way I parent my daughter, it's different. There's a lot of things I want to take with. Those things that we've come to know, the changes that we've had that are positive, let's go ahead and be purposeful about this. This is another reason we don't want to go back to the way it was. There's a lot of benefits. And saying all that, I'm not going to be disappointed when RC goes back to season. Some of us, we just need time apart, right? And again, that's normal. When we get out of our routines and the dynamics of the relationship changes, especially it's not because we chose them to change but because we had to. There's some feelings around that and some of these dynamics, they don't align with the dynamics of our relationship. It's been very hard, and as a matter of fact, in the state of Illinois, they started allowing electronic divorce submissions because there's unfortunately such a big need for that.

All my friends who are marriage and family therapists, they have waiting lists because this has been really hard, so wanting some time apart, that's normal.

And now, we can maybe connect with the people that we've missed. My 89 year old mother-in-law, Bubba ... We call her Bubba ... she can not wait. She's part of three mahjong groups, a widows group and she has two best friends from kindergarten. She's 89. Kindergarten. She hasn't seen them because they're 89, too. And they've already talked about how they're going to do socially distant mahjong. She's so excited because she's really missing ... She's talked to them because she's a Zoomer. Bubba's a Zoomer, but we want to go ahead and reach out to that.
So, plan a reunion. Not the 200 people, but to be able to socially distantly interact with the people that you've missed. Get together with them.

And as somebody was saying earlier in the comments ... Let me go back to this ... I was just talking to my sister on the phone and she said, "All we do is eat, work, sleep, eat, work and sleep." Connect again and limit the pandemic talk. Obviously, that's been going on but we don't want to re-trigger stuff. Look to the things, create new memories, have the fun times, put the energy into those relationships. Yeah, okay. This one hits home. I'm remote 100% and my husband is still going to his office. We have a 10 year old and an 8 year old. Sometimes I feel like I'm going crazy. I'm so busy with work that I feel like I'm doing them a disservice. I don't want them to watch TV, iPad all day while I'm working but I also find it difficult to entertain them while working.

Okay folks, one of the things, the whole concept of screen time, that gets to change, especially if they're using their electronics to connect with other people. If they're playing the games and it truly is interactive, if they're FaceTime'ing, things like that. That's not necessarily bad. Okay, now as we're getting to where we can interact again, we want to make sure they start interacting again, but sometimes that's what I do. When I have nine hours of webinars a day, obviously I can't be interacting with my daughter a whole bunch. Now, she's 11. But one of the things to do is cut yourself some slack. Don't beat yourself up. You go ahead and do what you need to do. The other thing is that make sure that it is quality time versus quantity time that you're focusing on.

When you do interact with your kids, it's purposeful. You're aware. It's about connecting, listening. That might actually enhance your relationship with them. That can make you a better parent. You're not spending hours and hours and hours and the time you're spending ... Did you know that when anybody, but especially a child, can have a conversation, especially about tough topics, with somebody they view as a protector, like a parent, having those conversations changes the way their brain and their central nervous system responds in terms that they now feel more safe and secure. They didn't even do anything but just having the conversation changes the way the brain and the nervous system responds. So, we want to make sure that we are still connecting with people, and again, this might be something that we've done and now we can take it with us.

So, don't beat yourself up and be purposeful about those interactions because I'm a big systems theory person. What is without is within. What is within is without. You want to create these healthy systems because it impacts the individual in our systems and vice versa. Oh, somebody's sending me a smile about the baseball. Cubs fan. Yay. Of course, I'm a Rays fan because that's who my husband's with. Oh, the other thing is that you might recognize in terms of the emotions and the family stuff that kids process things very, very differently so you might find your kids waning to do things that you're like, "Really?" Or, getting upset about things that you're like, "Really?" At this brain development, they see the world differently and they get to. That's okay.

Be aware of kids, and be really aware of teenagers because sometimes we forget they're teenagers. They're not adults. Our brains continue developing into our mid-20's. So your 18 year old, he's taller than you. He looks all grown up, but his brain isn't so be aware that the way they process it is differently than we do.

Oh, here's a good question/comment. How do we help our older folks understand we want to come see them but we may pose a threat? It's hard to get this information through to them we want to visit but do not want to impact them, especially if there's some stuff going on like dementia and they don't necessarily get it. So, I recommend that you continue the conversation. Be consistent. Continue the same message and you feel a lot of guilt, right? You're truly doing this for their best interest. You don't have to feel guilty about being sad and you miss them. Absolutely.

Sometimes working with a therapist and working through that guilt is really essential, because another question is what do you suggest for those who have lost family members during COVID? Not to be able to grieve family and friends, not even be able to say goodbye? Remember I was talking about that grief, that is a big deal, folks, and we're going through a lot of this stuff ... We've lost family members or maybe we haven't lost them but we can't see them. We can't be there to help them out. Use that support. I strongly recommend, and not just because I'm a mental health professional. We are not wired to grieve alone. We're not. That's just not how our brain works, so to be able to do this with somebody else, and sometimes that somebody else is a professional. If this is something you're struggling with, I do recommend seeing a counselor who has the experience with grief to be able to go ahead and go through that, because otherwise, it can be simply overwhelming. It's a big deal.

Okay, wow, you guys have great questions. And, it's about community. It's not just about us. It's about community. Make those connections, get involved, do what you can. If you've been donating to essential workers, continue doing it. They're still at the front lines. And when we do this, this actually is very good for us psychologically because it gives us that connection to something greater than ourselves. That's a human need, as well.

So again, systems theory, what is without is within. What can we do to contribute within to without? What can contribute to our system? So, continue to get involved in that.

Now, here's your homework. Normally I give a big homework assignment but I don't want to overwhelm you. I want you to think about one or two things. Not 57 things, just one or two things that you think would benefit you the most. The thing that stood out from today's session, the thing that made the most sense. One or two things that would benefit you the most and I want you to write them down. Piece of paper, 3x5 card, envelope, napkin, I don't care. Write them down, and I want you to have that with you and I want you to be focusing on that a lot over the next few weeks. For 30 days. I want you to habituate, I want you to create a habit around those things. So, the things that made the most sense to you, the most beneficial, write them down, have them with you and start focusing on that. That's what you get to do in all of these transitions.

And you'll notice if you do it for 30 days that there will be absolutely some positive impact. Okay, so now we still have about five or six minutes so knowing you all, I'm guessing there's going to be some more questions. This is your chance. Anything else? You want to go ahead and throw that there in the chat. Please and thank you.

Oh, here's a good point. I know this is not COVID but the other drama in the world of chaos, all the social upheaval. Absolutely. I can't listen to it anymore. I have limited television but how do I get beyond this and live knowing it is not in my control. I tuned in late so I apologize. Okay, one of the things, and folks, this is just bonus that you got.

One of the things that is important that we have filters in our brain. This is to protect us from being overwhelmed. These filters are about keeping us safe, and think about all the stuff that's been coming at our brain over the last few months, over the last few weeks. It's all about safety in may ways, shapes and forms. Our filters are getting overwhelmed. One of the primary filters if the reticular activating system. I sound really smart when I say that. Our filters are getting overwhelmed, so we don't want to deny, we don't want to pretend none of this this is happening. That's not helpful. That's not healthy.

What are you focusing your filter on? Are you focusing your filter on things that are joyful? That are funny, that give you the warm fuzzies? We still want to be aware of the other stuff, and there's life beyond that. So, reduce your media intake. I recommend that for everybody because it's overwhelming our filters. Be aware of your social media use and look to some of the other stuff. Broaden your filter out there. Every day, do something that feels good. As a matter of fact, start and end every day with self-care. Just a couple minutes. It will change your mind. It'll change how you view the world, how you perceive it. You want to activate those filters in a healthy, helpful way because otherwise we just get overwhelmed.

Oh, please go over the within/without that you mentioned. Yes, I am a systems theory so whether it's a family system, a community system or a work system, whatever system we're in impacts us and then we impact the system. So whatever's without, the dynamics of the system is within. So if we're in a healthy system or an unhealthy system, we're more likely to match up with that. And then that's what we bring back to the system, so in may ways, it is self-perpetuating. We want to make sure we're being as healthy as we can so we can bring health to the system so the systems more likely to be healthy. That is the without within.

Okay, a couple other things in here. Did somebody share a good app for meditation? Yes, Insight Timer and Calm is good, as well. Yeah, I forgot how much I like Insight Timer. Insight Timer.

How do we address fear of going out and going to the doctors and labs? I'm immune compromised. I'm having a hard time contemplating getting basic medical care much less a colonoscopy. First of all, recognize this is normal. This is an absolutely normal reaction. It's very natural. So, look at what you can control. Talk to your doctors offices about the procedures that are in place, the safety things that you can go ahead and do and focus on that, and if it's not necessary, can it be postponed? You're not doing it because of the fear but because you're making that decision. So, focus on what you can do.

Okay, please share your ideas on talking to teens about current health guidance. Scientific reports evolve with public experience, the politicians add spin so our teens trust no one and migrates to "My friends get to do that." Yeah, that's hard. This has been going on with a family just down the block that they've not done anything this whole time, and my daughter's like, "What's going on?" Have the discussion and contextualize it in terms of everything I'm doing is to keep us safe. Use your own words, whatever works for that. This is the information that I have and I'm going to go ahead and make decisions based upon it to keep you safe. Recognize that they're going to push back on that because that's where their brains are. Absolutely.

The other thing that can be really helpful is talking to a mental health professional either together or talking to a mental health professional where you can talk about the situation that can help you script and adjust it based on your individual situation. Preparation is really key. The other thing is that if we consistently communicate, that creates a specific dynamic. We don't want to be communicating just when everybody's upset. We want to go ahead and continue having these conversations, but again, that's a pattern we want to continue beyond.

Oh, how do you deal with friends, family, coworkers who are overly bitter about the recent changes? You decide what energy you put into that, what conversations that you want to engage in. Folks, it's okay to say, "I'm not going to talk about this," as long as we do that respectfully. Be aware this is a conversation that you need to have if it's beneficial and if it's not, you can set that boundary. Absolutely.

Okay, let's see. How can we best help others who are very anxious? Okay, that's all the stuff we've been talking about. The stuff that works for us, we can work for them as well. To give them the suggestions, and the other thing is remember I was talking about having a conversation with somebody, our kids, [inaudible 00:59:31] safety and security. Yeah, it's the same thing for us as well, having these conversations.

Any advice on where to start with Essential Oils? You can always start with the people that sell them. They can give you the information out there, but I really recommend that you go and you look at the opposing views because anybody that's selling them has the biased toward that, but look at the opposing views as well because there's links to research. Unfortunately, a Google search with that.

The emotional feeling of alarm due to the resurgence. Focus on what you can do. We're going to put our energy into that and be aware that our filters are being activated for safety and security. Don't beat yourself up. Allow yourself to have the feeling and process that. How do we slowly introduce ourselves? Start by just as you said, slowly introduce yourself. Reintroduce yourself. Do small steps. Talk with your systems, whether it's a family system, your work system, about these slow steps. A lot of people are aware of it. And, breathe. I'm not being flippant. When we get into this moments and we're in crisis, we're in crisis breathing. Go ahead and breathe.

Okay, and we've gone over time. My gosh. I so appreciate this. Oh, somebody recommends with so much out there to research, I use the Modern Essentials book for Essential Oils. Thank you. I'm going to look that up. There's plenty of resources out there and it's some good, unbiased stuff out there as well. Okay, so folks, you have your one or two things. Take them with you. Oh my goodness, thank you for being here today. Holy cow. Take good care of yourself and folks, let's change the world. Thanks, everybody.





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