Category Archives: Stress

How to Take Personal Responsibility for Change in COVID Times

In this age of the Coronavirus many things have changed resulting in anxiety, uncertainty, grief, and fear. The full impact of this virus is yet unknown, but we do see what has happened concerning it on a small and large scale. Businesses have closed, fundraisers and charities that help others have been cancelled, personal activities and events have been postponed or cancelled, and the outlets that we once had, like exercise, yoga studios, and other group interaction have not been readily available. This has contributed to isolation, anxiety, and grief. People are feeling more separated from family and friends causing depression and insecurity. With schools closing, children are missing their friends and parents are struggling to find balance and sanity with work and homeschooling, and just helping kids to get their work done. What a mess we have! In addition to corona virus, and other emotion filled events and actions in our world, we still have to deal with everyday life issues. This compounds stress so everything may seem harder to do.

How can we ease the effects of this discord in our world? I have always advocated that change starts from us; from within. Helping others and reaching out to others can really ease depression, anxiety and grief.  We can gain more control over our lives by being careful, wearing a mask, protecting ourselves and others, washing hands and surfaces.  We can also ease this virus’s effect by collective goodwill and generosity.  We can work individually to fight negativity and promote change in ourselves and others.

How do we take personal responsibility for change? Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Distant yourself from negativity in the news. Watching news constantly promotes negativity and that negative energy is contagious. Be informed but not obsessed.
  2. Stay distant from negative self-righteous people. Their negative energy contagious. Many are toxic and over the top with their views. It is good to be passionate and fight for causes and rights; it is bad to be consumed by the negative energy around hate and anger. Rants and rages push many away, and cause stress within you as well.
  3. Focus on solutions (what you can do), rather than what you cannot do. Take personal responsibility for your choices each day, one day at a time.
  4. Understand others feelings and be kind. Everyone’s feelings, (anger or love), come from somewhere in the past. People who are angry have been hurt. Understand that and work toward healing not hate and separation.
  5. Start helping others individually. Call that friend that is alone, make someone a delicious meal or a banana bread. Send someone a card just to let them know that you are thinking of them.
  6. Listen to music and find your own form of devotion. Maybe it is a traditional God or deity. Maybe it is walking in nature breathing in the air and soaking up the sunshine. Maybe it is meditating in a quiet place, and coming into the present moment. Maybe you curl up with a pet and feel grateful for the things you cherish.
  7. Acknowledge people; be kind. There are opportunities daily, to make a difference in another’s life. A kind word and gesture go a long way.
  8. Limit distracting technology that distances you from the people that matter most.
  9. Create something. Write, draw, paint, cook, dance, play music. Creative expression has always been associated with a sense of well-being. Sometimes creativity expresses what words cannot.

As the popular quote from Mahatma Ghandi says, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. It all begins with you.

Warm Regards,


Living with Uncertainty in This Challenging Time

This is a time like no other for us. Most of us have never lived through a pandemic such as this. We may have heard stories as kids about the polio epidemic, but they never really seemed real. Many people feel anxious and confused, and experience different emotions daily.

I think this a time of quiet, of thought-provoking moments with nowhere to run.

We are faced with ourselves, stuck in rooms with nowhere to escape. We can grow from this if we allow ourselves to.

Hurt from others, fear of the future, confusion, and living with uncertainty overtake us. We are scared to risk and live without control and in uncertainty. We are never really in control. We only have the illusion of it.

Letting go of this, having faith, and living in the present moment is precisely what we need. We are never in control of things beyond our control so we need to learn to let go. “There but for the grace of God go I”, meaning it happened to them it can happen to me.

All we really have is the present moment and what we do in it, and make of it. This is the reason that I added yoga to my counseling practice. I felt people needed to feel the present moment, not just talk about it, and see where that feeling takes them.

In the present moment we learn to face ourselves; we are no longer able to be distracted from out thoughts by running to TJ Maxx, the local bar, the bookstore or mall. In this era right now, we must sit with ourselves and all parts of that self.

When we look at our raw selves we are face to face with:

  1. Who am I? What defines me? Do I like my behavior and/or myself?
  2. Am I overly fearful and anxious?
  3. Am I comfortable alone? Why? Why not?
  4. Can I motivate myself? Am I interesting?
  5. Can I structure my day with my own hobbies and interests?
  6. How do I fill up my time?
  7. How do I interact with people with lots of together time? What choice do I make daily?
  8. How do I handle relationships?
  9. Do my kids like me?
  10. How do I define myself without a job or another person? Back to who am I?

So, our goal is to use this time to get to meet ourselves, in all forms. Let all parts of you come to the table. Use this time to create who you want to be, not being defined by the outside but from the inside. “Stay Inside”, takes on a whole new meaning.

If you are having trouble examining yourself in close quarters give Sacks and Associates Counseling a call – 978-486-8046. We are here to help.

In peace,

Photo by Ümit Bulut on Unsplash

Managing Stress, Fear and Anxiety During Covid-19 Pandemic

Many are in fear regarding the contagious effect of this virus and consequences, particularly for the elderly. Others such as people with compromised immune systems, first responders, children, teens, and people with anxiety and other various mental health issues are also of particular concern.

There are ways to manage this stress and fear, and I wrote this blog to help with that because we need to protect from the virus, but we also need to protect ourselves from the severe anxiety around it. Anxiety is bad for you and can actually promote illness if you have too much of it.

With the closings of people’s social connections, stress outlets, colleges, gyms, and churches, many people’s way of coping with life have been compromised. The very things we need at this time may seem unavailable. In conjunction with that we are all dealing with uncertainty and the impatience, fear and worry that go with that. When this will end we do not know.

Fear and anxiety at this time are normal. Some even say they are feeling the symptoms, even if it is just an allergy or a slight flu symptom.

The media and mass fear are contagious indeed. The disruption of support and social interaction combined with paranoia in some can be debilitating.

Parenting at this time is challenging as well. Kids are home due to the pandemic and we want to keep them safe, but again don’t instill fear. By this I mean we want to teach children to be safe and cautious, or anyone for that matter, without overreacting in fear. Remember the titanic. Some went down singing, others in shear panic. We choose how we react and speak about a situation. Our children will learn from us. This doesn’t mean we are undermining or minimizing the seriousness of this, it just means we use healthy language and skills to help people be HOPEFUL and safe.

Here are some helpful tips to combat anxiety and fear.

  1. Stop watching the news constantly. You can be informed but not obsessed. If you miss something, believe me, someone will let you know.
  2. Engage in something new or something you have had limited time for in the past. Cook, play music, write, read a book you have put off, finish a well overdue project. Learn something new online. Clean out your closet and give clothes to goodwill.
  3. Exercise. There are millions of online classes and some are free. You can go on youtube or eventbrite to find some. Walking is free. Try walking daily in different spots. Get the yoga mat, turn on calming or upbeat music and stretch.
  4. Meditate and breathe. There are apps online for meditation instruction. You Tube has many for free.
  5. Repeat positive affirmations contradicting negative rhetoric and thoughts: I am healthy; My immune system is strong and protective; This too shall pass; Most people recover; My loved ones will be fine. Remember positive thinking is not denial. It is a survival mechanism. It is essential.
  6. Eat healthy, breathe and take care of your body
  7. Spend time with your animals and family, play games, talk, engage.
  8. Treat yourself to something each day. Maybe a fine piece of chocolate, a new recipe, a soothing bath with a new soap. Purchase a new musical piece if you play music.  Make a new food dish for yourself and your family.
  9. Check in with people you love. For those that are alone don’t forget them. It’s much harder to be alone each day with social distancing. Pick up the phone more. Engage in less texting. People are lonely and want true connection.

Remember this in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”


Peace and love,