What a pleasure having Charissa Bloomberg, radio and tv celebrity psychologist, join me live on my page to discuss building mental resilience. I am so passionate about mental health and at this time a year the covid-19 pandemic this is such a relevant discussion.
About Charissa Bloomberg
Charissa is known as a celebrity psychologist because at one stage she was assisting celebrities and with doing more and more tv shows that label stuck. Her main focus is to look at integrity, mental resilience, emotional intelligence, corporate training and everything around psychology, with integrity being her speciality.
She had a private practice for many years but she has now moved on from that.
How I came into contact with Charissa for this live video was when I was being interviewed on Cape Talk radio on the topic of How To Keep Your Kids Busy During Lockdown, Charissa was being interviewed before me so I was listening before my interview. Charissa’s topic was on living in a blended families and I loved her interview so when she gave her phone number at the end I scribbled it down and gave her a call to join me live.
What Exactly Is Mental Resilience?
Mental resilience relates to your ability to cope under pressure. So right now during lockdown and with possible anxiety how can you cope mentally and emotionally?
There is a difference between being in victim mode and being able to say that this is what has happened to me and I am going to cope with it and be able to adapt to it. Being able to adapt is part of emotional intelligence.
Why Is Mental Resilience So Important Right Now?
Mental resilience is needed right now, not only in South Africa, but in the entire world. We are now a year into the covid-19 pandemic where everything has changed, our norm has changed. We all know people that have died, we are dealing with loss, anxiety, job loss, financial issues, and more.
Everything that we have ever known has changed. It has changed us mentally, emotionally and physically. It has broken up families and made it so that we cannot hug and kiss our loved ones.
When this pandemic first started everyone was talking about the things we must do to keep safe, such as wash our hands, sanitize and keep our distance but the truth is that the biggest challenge that many are facing are mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and even suicide.
We need mental resilience in order to keep going and adapt to current circumstances.
Being Mentally Fit
Being mentally fit is not the same as mental resilience but it plays a big part in being mentally resilient. Being mentally fit means that you are balanced in terms of spirituality, emotional wellness, mindfulness, having enough sleep, doing self-care and keeping physically active.
This pandemic has made it incredibly hard to maintain this balance. People are struggling to exercise, with sleep, with anxiety, comfort eating and more. All of this is having a huge impact on us and we need to be extremely mindful of where we are at before we can practice any sort of mental resilience.
When looking at our health it is essential to look at it holistically. Our mental health and our physical health is linked and the one will affect the other. This is why balance is so important.
The Danger Of Burn Out
Burnout is adrenal fatigue, it is when we push ourselves too much until we cannot anymore.
Burn out starts when we start getting a very short fuse, so things like road rage and struggling to be patient with our kids. Then there could be some physical reactions such as headaches or rashes. It can then become more serious such as heart attacks or strokes.
There are some natural supplements you can take to help the body cope better but it is important to become very aware of what stage you are in. It is Charissa’s personal professional opinion that a lot of people in the world are in burn out and they don’t even know it. We are exhausted and we are tired and irritable. This pandemic has been dragging on with no end in sight for over a year and we need to be mindful of where we are at and be kind to ourselves.
Tips For Building Mental Resilience
You may think that some people are strong and others aren’t but this is simply not true, mental resilience is possible for anyone and everyone.
The Power of Thought
The way that we think affects the way that we feel and then how we act and behave. We are the gatekeeper of our own thoughts, feelings and emotions. If your thinking it in victim mode then that is how you will be feeling and acting, which will lead you into a downward spiral.
Positive affirmations may sound fluffy, but they are actually incredibly powerful. Set aside some time every day to say some positive affirmations out loud. It will do you the world of good.
It is important to understand internal and external locus of control. Someone that has external locus of control will blame God or the universe, anything at all for everything that has happened. A person with internal locus of control will say that this has happened and nothing can change it, but what am I going to do now?
Where thought goes energy flows.
Putting On Your Armour
There needs to be a psychological process of putting on your mental armour to protect yourself. Just like you put on your pandemic PPE like your mask you need to put on your psychological PPE to protect yourself.
This entails getting up in the morning and being mindful and checking in with yourself where you are in terms of your attitude and your PPE. What are you putting on mentally and emotionally? What are you thinking and what are you processing?
It is critical that we know where we are at or there will be no mental resilience.
How Helping Others Helps You
You may have lost everything but the facts are that there is always someone worse off than you. The minute you help somebody else you feel empowered and you feel good. This is part of building mental resilience.
The Importance Of Connecting With People
We cannot be mentally resilient on our own, it is important to have close relationships with others and while social distancing makes it tricky to get together in person we can still connect via phone call or video call. Make connecting with others a priority.
Set Aside Some Worry Time
We all worry about things and right now there is a lot to worry about. Instead of spending a good part of your day worrying on and off (especially those times at night when you are trying to sleep but worries keep creeping in and going around and around in your mind), set aside some time every day specially for worrying. Give yourself ten minutes or twenty minutes to worry and do a good job of it in that time. When your allocated worry time is over, make a commitment not to spend another moment worrying that day. Any more worrying you feel you need to do will have to wait until the next worry session you have set aside.
Listen to Charissa Bloomberg discuss Fear In The Time Of Covid with Jeff Kahn on the Psyche Zone.
Journaling is brilliant for mental health and a great way to process your thoughts and your feelings, especially when there is a lot going on and you are feeling overwhelmed. Read this post for more information on journaling for mental health.
It’s Ok To Shut Some Things Out
The amount of loss has been catastrophic and many of us were glued to the news and social networks at the beginning of this pandemic. However watching so much loss and pain can have a negative effect on us.
Avoiding social networks and the news can be a great way to make things more manageable. If things are overwhelming and you feel like you can’t cope then backing away from everything does not mean you don’t care about anyone else or what is going on in the world, it is simply a way of caring for yourself.
Avoid Toxic People
There are some people that appear to enjoy being miserable and whenever you are in their company they are only every negative, taking your mood and positivity right down with them. It is okay to have a detox of toxic people in your life.
Instead surround yourself with like minded positive people that you enjoy spending time with and that lift you up and support you when you need it.
Reach Out For Help If You Are Not Coping
Don’t be afraid to contact a counselor or therapist for help. There is no shame in not being able to cope and you will find that working through things with a professional can mean all the difference. If you don’t have any finances available for therapy contact SADAG – they have amazing free services.
Tips For Coping With Loss During Covid-19
There has been so much loss for everyone in the last year – from losing loved ones, to jobs, homes, income, relationships and more. We all need to learn how to cope with so much loss and grief all around us.
There are five stages of loss or grief and it is critical that we know what stage we are in. There is no time frame for loss and nobody can tell you that you should be over it. It can take a long time to recover after loss or it can take a relatively quick time. It is your process.
The five stages of loss are:
When there is loss everyone involved can be in a different stage. For example if your husband has been diagnosed with terminal cancer you may be in the anger stage when your husband is in the depression stage and other family members will also be in their own stage of loss. This has the potential to lead to a lot of miscommunication.
It is important to understand that it is okay to be where you are in your stage of loss. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. There are many ways to help your grieving process along such as writing letters, journaling and going for therapy, however don’t try to rush the process.
At this time during a worldwide pandemic everyone is in a state of loss, with some people suffering multiple losses in a short period of time. For people that has suffered multiple losses, for example a job and a family member, they may be in a different stage of loss for each thing that they have lost.
One of the difficulties of loss is that it makes people uncomfortable and people often don’t know what to say to someone that has gone through a loss. Very often people say things that are not helpful to the person that has gone through loss.
If you are faced with someone that has gone through a loss you can offer condolences, offer to keep them in your prayers and ask what they need from you to help them through it.
It is also important to remember that no matter what we are going through we never know what someone else is going through, so always be kind and empathetic to others.
Listen to Charissa Bloomberg discussing Grieving In The Time Of Covid with Saskia Hickey on Cape Talk.
How Can We Help Our Children To Build Mental Resilience?
One thing that this pandemic has taught us all, is that we need to build not only our own mental resilience but we need to teach our children how to do the same.
Here are some of the ways to help our children build mental resilience:
- Talk to them as much as possible about what they are feeling and address their fears
- Watch for dysfunctional thoughts and challenge that
- Be as honest as you can taking their age into account
- Teach through your own actions – if your children see how you cope and what you do they will automatically follow in your footsteps
- Build them up as much as you can by being positive and acknowledging their achievements
- Have fun with your kids
- Teach them healthy coping skills
- Teach them to help others
And lastly, to be strong enough to look after your children put yourself first. If you don’t look after yourself first chances are high that you will burn out and not be able to look after anyone else. As the primary care giver in your family you must have a full cup in order to pour for others.