California Therapist Blog

Emotional health, relationship and therapy-related articles by Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT.

Are you Ok? Do a Self-Check

There is a lot going on in our world.   I heard someone say recently, “the world is on fire” while observing international situations, ongoing Covid impact and the wildfires in California and other surrounding states.  The pandemic rollercoaster depending on your area continues with unanswered questions.  Some people are going back to their offices while others are delayed, not clear when if/when they are going back.  Should they change careers all together?  Will breakthrough infection despite being vaccinated still lead to long Covid?  Will their younger kids stay healthy with the new school year?

When are we going to get a break?

My therapy practice only dipped briefly in late July then the need increased again through the summer until now where it maintains a brisk pace.  People are clearly feeling unsettled with all of it, looking for grounding of any kind.  I’m having a lot of similar conversations with clients as during much of the pandemic, around how distress shows for them, when they’ve hit a wall and how to get back to the basics of self-care and the “oxygen mask on first” idea.  It’s far too easy to go into auto pilot when stressed and many are in therapy not necessarily clear that they are overwhelmed.  It’s my job to help them identify if this is the case for them and collaborate with their wiser self to guide them back to center.

If you haven’t been feeling yourself, take a moment to check in by asking yourself whether any of these behaviors sound familiar.

  • Have you been less patient lately?
  • Are you having trouble sleeping?
  • Are you friends, family or co-workers experiencing anger outbursts from you?
  • Are you frequently ruminating about your worries?
  • Are you more frequently drinking alcohol or using other substances to alleviate stress?
  • Is it harder to get things done lately because you don’t feel motivated?
  • Are you more fixated on lists and being hyper-organized lately?

These are just some of the possible ways people exhibit their stress, preoccupation, anxiety and fears.  How people manifest their psychological distress can also get wrapped up in their vulnerabilities around depression or anxiety.  Those with a history of trauma or PTSD can also get triggered into these patterns.  Whatever the case, it’s typically reflecting either unhealthy coping mechanisms, acting out or deeper reflections of psychological distress.

If any of the above resonates with you, maybe you’re not ok.  And that is ok.  The next step is to DO something about it.

Put some attention on the following:

  • Practice being in the moment.  Take a few slow, deep breaths with your eyes closed several times a day to start. A mindfulness practice can also help.
  • Take in the good.  No matter what’s going on the world, there are positive things around you too.  Notice, appreciate and savor them.
  • Practice radical acceptance.  There are very difficult things happening.  Shift from rigid to flexible thinking to be better able to accept what “is.”

If you need further guidance, seek therapist support.  Sometimes you just can’t go it alone and you don’t need to.

Are you in California and would like to talk about scheduling a therapy session with me?  Contact Lisa.

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