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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Kim

Searching for Self-Care During Chaos

Relax your jaw. Release the tension in your shoulders. Take a deep breath and exhale the stress.

These are things I’ve had to start saying to myself many times throughout the day. I notice now that I often carry a lot of tension as I’m going through my normal day-to-day activities. There are times where my body is completely tense and I can’t seem to understand why. With all the chaos going on in the world currently, on top of the normal challenges we endure as people, there is extra anxiety and stress going on in life. The fact is, many of us have been feeling this way--as if everything could change in a second or that there isn’t a second of time to lose. It feels like everything is going even faster than before, yet seems like there hasn’t been much progress made at all.

Recently, I have started taking time out of my day to try and relax. Though sometimes I can only spare a few moments for relaxation, it has helped tremendously with my stress levels. The days seem to go by smoother and I don’t feel as anxious. We should all allow ourselves a certain amount of time each day to unwind. It’s a necessary break that our minds and bodies need to take. My counselor always tells me to either take a few minutes to think of what I’m grateful for, to sit and focus on each of the five senses, or to try meditation. Doing these things allows me to refocus my mind and get myself centered when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I also feel that my mood boosts after I have given myself some time to relax. You might also try going outside for a few minutes or doing an activity that you enjoy to give yourself a break.

Most of the time I can take a few moments to relax, but sometimes I find it difficult to calm down on overwhelming days. I’ve read posts online and heard people say that they too struggle to relax and face mental health issues. With everything going on, it makes sense that many of us are struggling mentally. I spoke with the media relations manager at BJC Healthcare who relayed to me that “for Missouri residents negatively impacted by the pandemic, BJC Behavioral Health is ready to provide help and hope with free crisis counseling services, through the Missouri Department of Mental Health’s ‘Show-Me Hope’ program.” People can feel free to contact them regarding these services or other resources that they provide. It takes a big step to ask for help, but it can really make a difference in these uncertain times we are all living in.

I also spoke with a worker at St. Francois County Health Center about what people can do to help with mental health issues right now. The employee provided me with the resources that they give out to the community in regards to improving mental health and anxiety. I was given a link to the Missouri Department of Mental Health that provides many links the public can access. These links are for crisis intervention services that are free to access. Some of the links are in regards to coronavirus, while others are for disaster distress. There is also a section after these links called “Lower Stress Now” that provides deep relaxation with a simple visualization that guides you. From there you can click on more resources for self-care and relaxation, such as apps and articles.

The world has always been chaotic and crazy, but now everything is amplified. Give yourself time to unwind throughout the day and enjoy a few moments of peace. We’ve all been feeling extra stressed, so taking some time for self-care won’t hurt. And if it feels like the day’s events are too overwhelming to unwind, reach out for help. You can call, click a link, or access an app to help you get some rest. So relax your jaw, release the tension in your shoulders, then take a deep breath and exhale the stress.

Call BJC Behavioral Health at (314) 747-7492 for more information or in regards to their free crisis counseling services.


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