Current conversations about COVID-19 are pervasive. Whether you’re talking to your fellow Sailors in-person about the latest updates or connecting with friends and family digitally, concern about the impact of COVID-19 remains widespread across the globe. Uncertainty and ambiguous situations can often produce negative emotions, but there are many healthy ways to cope.
If you are finding yourself with limited mobility or feeling a heightened sense of stress, you are not alone. Consider these activities and related NavyNavStress blog posts for improving your health and well-being:
Reach out to your support network. Since social distancing continues to be recommended by federal public health professionals, it is important to determine new and creative ways to connect with your loved ones. Consider setting up regular times to video chat with your friends, plan virtual dinner dates with your long-distance partner or organize a digital happy hour with your friends or colleagues. You can also do a workout routine with a shipmate over a video chat and send funny photos or memes to your friends to let them know you care. For more:
Maintain your healthy habits. If your typical work and family routine feels disrupted, remain flexible in upholding your established activities. Go on walks for fresh air and cook meals with your family. Reframe this uncertain time as an opportunity to even develop new practices to improve your well-being. Be kind to yourself and others when adjusting to new schedules. For more:
Practice mindfulness. With the news changing every day, it may feel like you’ve lost a sense of control over your psychological and emotional wellness. Take time to push pause and cultivate gratitude for the little joys in life. Relish in small, positive tasks like reading a book or writing a letter to a loved one. You may have more time to dedicate to activities that fall by the wayside during your normal daily responsibilities. For more:
To learn more about mental health in the time of COVID-19, check out the following posts:
For the latest military-centric updates on COVID-19, visit the following resource hubs:
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Posted in Families, Health, OSC, Physical Fitness, Psychological Fitness, Resilience, Resources, Self-Care, Stress, Suicide Prevention, Tools
Tagged fitness, mindfulness, Relationships, resilience, Self-Care
Healthy relationships are built on fundamental tenants of respect, honesty, support and equality. The beginning of the year is a great time to check in on your interpersonal relationships with your friends, family and peers to set healthy boundaries. Recognizing and responding to unhealthy behaviors in your interpersonal relationships is critical to your emotional and relationship health. January marks National Stalking Awareness Month, a time to educate yourself and others about stalking.
Recognized as a crime in all 50 states, the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women defines stalking as “engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.” In 2015, The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey found that nearly 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men were victims of stalking.
Stalking can be difficult to recognize, especially when the entertainment industry often romanticizes persistence in relationships as a form of flattery. The National Center for Victims of Crime’s Stalking Resource center outlines the following behaviors of stalkers:
- Repeatedly call you, including hang-ups.
- Follow you and show up wherever you are.
- Send unwanted gifts, letters, texts, or e-mails.
- Damage your home, car, or other property.
- Monitor your phone calls or computer use.
- Use technology, like hidden cameras or global positioning systems (GPS), to track where you go.
- Drive by or hang out at your home, school, or work.
- Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends, or pets.
- Find out about you by using public records or on-line search services, hiring investigators, going through your garbage, or contacting friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers.
- Other actions that control, track, or frighten you.
To learn more about stalking and other unhealthy relationship behaviors, visit the following resources:
- What to Do If You are Being Stalked, Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center
- Stalking Incident and Behavior Log, Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center
- A Technical Package to Prevent Sexual Violence, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Stalking Fact Sheet, The National Center for Victims of Crime (Stalking Resource Center)
- The Use of Technology to Stalk and the Workplace, The National Center for Victims of Crime (Stalking Resource Center)
- Safety Tips for Stalking Victims, WomensLaw.org
If you or someone you know needs help, utilize the following hotlines:
- National Center for Victims of Crime: 1-855-4-VICTIM (1-855-484-2846)
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−7233
- The National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
As we’re in the month of New Year’s resolutions, it is important to take a moment to reflect on the past and the opportunities for growth that lie ahead. If one of your goals is to live more mindfully and empathetically this year, consider committing to regular journaling. While journaling is not a one-size-fits-all solution to following your full self-care plan, journaling can have several benefits for your psychological, emotional and relationship health. Recording your thoughts and feelings is often useful when navigating stressful experiences, revisiting interpersonal dynamics and reflecting on your evolving activities and perspectives.
According to the University of Rochester’s Medical Center, journaling can advance your well-being by: “helping you prioritize problems, fears and concerns, tracking any symptoms day-to-day so that you can recognize triggers and learn ways to better control them and providing an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviors.” Jumpstart your journaling with these tips:
Carve out time. Like forming any other healthy habit, devoting time and energy to journaling will help establish the practice as a routine part of your schedule. Picking a specific time of day devoted to journaling may also help solidify the norm. Whether its daily, twice a week or a few times a month, consider making a goal about the frequency of creating your entries that effectively fits in to your calendar.
Let go of ideas of what you “should” write. You may be thinking – what is worth recording? How do I get all of my thoughts out on a page? What details should I include or leave out? By eliminating any parameters, you’ll be able to think more about journaling with a stream-of-consciousness mindset. This could lead to increased self-discovery and a more representative picture of what’s on your mind and your types of responses to different situations. There’s no correct or incorrect way to journal, and how you document different experiences is completely up to your preference.
Get inspired if you feel stuck. While journaling and other forms of self-reflection may create an uncomfortable feeling of vulnerability, there are several accessible resources and frameworks to leverage as prompts or inspiration. Your entries could focus on highlighting items such as: one positive thing you did for someone over the course of a day, an affirmation to yourself, or one memorable expression of gratitude from your week. Finding prompts online that resonate with you can help you progress and lead to new ideas. If you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick list of prompts that can help you process and write about something going on in your life:
- What’s on my mind?
- How should I have reacted in hindsight?
- How are things different now?
- What would I say to a younger version of myself?
- What am I grateful for?
- Who helped me?
Choose the right format for you. Journaling is often associated with physically writing down thoughts and feelings via a pen and paper. If picking out a new notebook isn’t something that gets you motivated, consider exploring different digital apps that offer online spaces for journaling. You could devote a specific section of your planner or calendar tool for journal notes and entries. If you prefer to learn and communicate more visually, you could opt to include forms of artistic expression to complement or substitute entries (e.g., photo collages, graphics, paintings).
For more ideas on how to live mindfully this year, check out these other articles from our blog:
Posted in Health, Psychological Fitness, Resilience, Suicide Prevention
Tagged emotional health, emotions, journaling, mental health, Psychological Health, psycological health, Relationships, Self-Care, stress