By: Brenda Adeogun, APN, RWJBarnabas Behavioral Health Center
Although we may not have been able to spend time directly in the presence of our loved ones, hopefully you have found a way to bridge the physical gap. Some partook in virtual gatherings, others rescheduled and are currently planning to celebrate in 2021 when the time is right.
On the converse, maybe the holidays were just too much and you ended up not feeling connected at all. Whatever the case, the key now is to look forward.
Mindset matters-especially during these unprecedented times.
We have to really look into ourselves and be aware that the sacrifices made were not in vein- the safety of those we love and ourselves comes first. That is nothing to gloss over! For some people, just knowing others feel the same way- sad, grief-stricken, lonely- is a way to cope. This just proves how powerful the human connection is that we miss so much.
So how do we get ourselves to look forward? Planning is key
Plan, Plan, Plan
Write down your short-term goals in a journal or make a daily to-do list- anything to keep you on track and feeling productive. Make sure you are also including time to do something you love, whether it’s a walk in the fresh air, listening to your favorite music, or cooking a meal you enjoy.
This may sound simple, but you would be surprised how little is required to make yourself feel at ease. For example, do you have a favorite mug? How much better does your coffee or tea taste when you are using the mug you love? It’s all about perception and giving yourself daily moments of positivity.
Don’t get me wrong- positivity is difficult when things seem so uncertain, and it’s normal to feel anxiety because of this. The key is to be cognizant of when your thoughts turn negative, and use coping skills to combat darker days. Remember- it’s ok (and normal!) not to feel happy all the time, that’s life. But when our negative thoughts become all-consuming, that’s when we need to take action to get ourselves back on track. We owe that to ourselves after such a difficult year.
If you’re finding it difficult to cope on a daily basis, and it is impeding your daily life, please don’t go it alone.
RWJBarnabas Health Behavioral Health Network has an extensive Mental Health service line for you and your loved one’s needs. Call our 24/7 Access Line at 1-800-300-0628. To read more about their mental health services, please visit www.rwjbh.org/behavioralhealth. If you are having a mental health emergency, please call 9-1-1 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
RWJBarnabas Health Behavioral Health Center, located in Toms River, NJ, has both inpatient and outpatient mental health services for adults. Our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and Outpatient Program (OP) called Stepping Stones, is currently running on a virtual and telephonic platform. To access any programs and services, please call 1-800-300-0628. Call Jessica Alpert, Community Outreach Coordinator, RWJBarnabas Behavioral Health Center at 732-228-2629 for additional information. For updates, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RWJBarnabasBehavioralHealth.
Additional Mental Health Resources:
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline- 800-273-8255
- Crisis text line- text “Talk” to 741-741
Brenda Adeogun is a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner in Toms River who is affiliated with RWJBarnabas Health Behavioral Health Center and Network and Monmouth Medical Center, Southern Campus. A psychiatric nurse practitioner is a nurse who completed a graduate degree in advanced practice nursing and a certification in psychiatric care.