Two years after COVID-19 arrived in North Texas, here's how to process the change and loss
The first recorded case of COVID-19 in North Texas was March 9, 2020. Since then, more than 5.4 million Texans have had the virus, and close to 85,000 Texans have died. Everything from people's jobs to their communities have changed since the pandemic started.
The two year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic have brought up feelings of anxiety, exhaustion and loss for therapist Griselda Coreas Landor's clients. She said this is completely normal.
"When you sit back and look at the pandemic, that was very traumatic for everyone, and people aren't aware of the signs of what it means to experience trauma," Coreas Landor said.
Oftentimes it shows up in clients as a lack of energy, said the Frisco therapist, "when there's something really interfering and inhibiting" people's ability to get things done.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted in multiple reports over the past two years that the COVID-19 pandemic caused increases in substance use and worse mental health outcomes.
"It's such a common, reoccurring theme to hear, 'I just wish things were back to normal. When are things gonna go back to normal?,'" Coreas Landor said of her clients. "The reality is that things are not going to go back to normal. It's a new norm, it's a new adjustment. We as humans do not do well with life adjustments."
'Radical acceptance' and making space for self-care
She works with clients to practice "radical acceptance," which is a therapeutic technique to challenge negative beliefs and recognize the reality of situations without judgement.
"What is in your power? What is in your control?," Coreas Landor said. "Because you can't control what's happening out there. But what you can control and focus on is your life, to make sure that you're providing yourself with whatever it is that you can."
Instructing clients on kindness and compassion helped her recognize how the pandemic had changed her own life.
"I'm a single mom. In the middle of a pandemic, I was trying to build my career, trying to excel and navigate while also being a mother," Coreas Landor said. "Taking care of myself wasn't easy. I got my own therapist. I got my own psychiatrist. I think it shined a light on me that I can't just be an advocate for mental health, and supply my own services, without preaching what I say."
She encourages people, especially as they are processing difficult emotions and life changes, to recognize what they need to take care of themselves. That could be getting enough sleep, taking a walk, cooking a meal or practicing mindfulness, like meditation. The pandemic brought to light a lot of mental health issues, but Coreas Landor said this can be an opportunity for growth.
"Everyone has a right to be heard, to process, to go through whatever it is that they experience," Coreas Landor said. "There's no better time to say, this is what I want for me and now's the time."
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