This may be a sex counselling, relationship therapy, centric place, but addressing our basic mental health and survival needs is some of the best things we can do for our sexual and reproductive health so I wanted to devote this post entirely to the value of connecting with difficult feelings, connecting with ourselves, and connecting with each other.
The following are a series of resources that you may find helpful for yourself, your relationships, and your well-being while you navigate the uncertainty and isolation of COVID-19 pandemic.
This first resource is by Kelly McGonigal, PhD. This resource was created prior to the COVID-19 pandemic for parents with very ill children, however, it is a valuable strategy for uncertainty, in general. I have summarized here in written form:
3-step strategy for managing uncertainty
- Recognize the identity that is being challenged by uncertainty and what kinds of strengths this identity has to offer— what are some things this part of you is really good at? How is this part capable of survival? How is this part of you carrying you successfully through each day?
- Validate and appreciate what exactly is difficult for this identity/part. What emotions would controlling this situation allow you to avoid? If you need some help identifying your emotions, trying reviewing this feelings wheel. How can you articulate or be with these feelings without trying to avoid them? Can you give space to these feelings without trying to get rid of them?
- Shift focus from control to choice. Given that there is so much that is out of your control in this situation, what do you want to choose to do? What choices do you want to make? For example, You can’t control this colonial capitalist hellscape that got us here (to a place where people choose to prioritize hoarding wealth and resources). What we can choose are actions that bolster community resilience by sharing resources, checking-in on our friends/neighbours, and sharing information like this Toronto CareMongering-TO Facebook Group is doing.
For those who are familiar with IFS/parts work, Derek Scott & Tammy Sollenberger has put together a really helpful video that you may find valuable while in isolation. This video is aimed at increasing your connection to your inner world and getting to know some of the different parts of you that make up whole of who you are:
The following downloadable resources have been put together by the 519 here in Toronto with an emphasis on queer and trans folks (though not limited to). These docs are a great way to checkout what kinds of services are available for food, mental health, medicine, parents, and more:
And of course, the pay-what-you-can online COVID-19 Respite Clinic is still running! Feel free to access the clinic if you are anxious, depressed, lonely, afraid, bored— it is here to serve your emotional needs during these strange times.