Feeling anxious? Remember to S.T.O.P.

So, it is April 24th and we have been sheltering at home since March 16. Ryan continues to work at Bello’s three mornings per week as he is an essential employee. During the afternoon, when he would have been working at the Barber National Institute in Small Group Employment, he is home. If the weather allows, he is off to the Peninsula for jogging, but April in Erie has not been conducive for much of that.

STOP diagram as image

These very dramatic changes in his routines are problematic. Coping with the unknown and the uncertainty of when he can go back to work, to the gym, and to restaurants is very stressful for him. First it’s April 1, then Easter, May 1 and now May 9. When will this end????

We pray daily to Aunt Tootie and God that the virus ends and we can go back to our lives as they were before March 16.

To help Ryan deal with his anxiety, we continue to work on coping and calming skills. I have also been doing some reading on mindfulness, which is the simple practice of bringing a gentle, accepting attitude to the present moment, as it has been shown to decrease anxiety and increase happiness. One of the exercises we are trying is S.T.O.P.

S = Stop

Stop and pause for a moment

T = Take

Take a breath: Feel the sensation of your breathing for 5 seconds

O = Observe

Observe what is happening around you. Why are you feeling this way?

P = Proceed

Proceed to go back to what you were doing

We are practicing this daily with the goal that when he is feeling anxious or becoming agitated, he will spontaneously follow this exercise.

It certainly is a work in progress, but I will keep you in the loop on how we are doing.


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