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Herman & Wallace Blog

Covid Coping Strategies

It’s OK to be feeling (insert feeling) right now. (maybe: sad, fearful, angry, denial, numb, anxious, avoidant, bored?)

It’s OK to acknowledge those feelings.

It’s also OK to create a plan and direction about what we may do about our feelings, thoughts, and actions.

We can change how we think, what we do and ultimately how we feel.

Breathe. Place a hand on your chest and a hand on your abdomen. Practice inhaling long and deep as if you were pouring the air into your body- first filling the lower hand and then filling the top hand. Pause for a moment when you feel your canister is full and then exhale slowly (top to bottom or bottom to top- either works fine). I prefer breathing through my nose for inhale and exhale but know if you are congested, mouth breathing is fine or you can inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth- find what works for you. Work on increasing the number counted (silently in your mind) while you inhale, pause briefly and then exhale- making that number count on exhale the same or even longer. Make it a game to see how long and deep your breath can become. Reduce intensity if feeling lightheaded.

Focus on your breath and feel calmness. Return to this breathing whenever you can.

Body Scan/Progressive Relaxation. Take a moment and scan your body for pain or tension. You can start at the top of your body or where your feet are grounded to floor. Notice your body and allow it to be, without judgement. Then starting from the top of your body or the bottom, contract your muscles systematically and then relax. Or focus on the muscle group and allow the muscles to relax and slacken. Maybe send your long, deep breath to each area? Maybe think of color washing each area? Make your scan personal and positive for you. Check-in to your body without judgement and send gratefulness for the work your amazing body does.

Stand Big. Find a wall and place your backside onto it. Pretend there is a string at the crown of your head and imagine your head being pulled up towards the ceiling. Lift your chest as you are standing tall and use your slow, steady, deep breathing to create bigness and calmness. Relax your shoulders. Maybe place the back of your hands onto wall and feel the opening of your chest. Once you have practiced this posture, you can refer to this posture during your day. Stand big, breathe big, be big.

Intentionally SCHEDULE into your life what you love. Schedule time listening to your favorite music. Maybe take up playing an instrument? Practice singing in the shower or car. Set a timer and dance fervently. Create time to draw or paint or write. Make a recipe. Get frozen berries and make smoothies. Maybe add frozen spinach to your smoothie?

Pick up a book. Play a game, cards or even solitaire. Practice Sudoku. Take a bath or shower. Go for a long walk while keeping your distance from others. Find a workout you can do at home that makes you feel powerful. Whatever you love, turn it into a scheduled ritual. Make one small goal and work towards it. Focus on what we can do instead of what we cannot. Find some activity and fulfill a passion just for you. Make sleep a priority and know if you have a bad night, that the next night you will likely sleep better. Perhaps create a sleeping ritual? Call others and ask what they are doing for themselves? Remember to forgive yourself and to feel or express the feelings that are within you. We are all going through this together. Make you a priority and schedule yourself some HAPPY.

Lastly- try to limit the news, your phone and the frig. All of these can create negative feelings that do not fulfill us.

Breathe. Find love in positive activities. Be brave. Be grateful. Forgive.

We are all in this together.


Lauren Mansell DPT, CLT, PRPC is the author and instructor of the Trauma Awareness for the Pelvic Therapist course. She is also offering several courses via Zoom video conference during the Covid-19 pandemic, which can be found on our Remote Learning Opportunities page. Prior to becoming a physical therapist, Lauren counseled suicidal and homicidal SES at-risk youth who had survived sexual violence. Lauren was certified as a medical and legal advocate for sexual assault survivors in 1999 and has advocated for over 130 sexual assault survivors of all ages in the ED. Lauren's physical therapy specialty certifications include Certified Lymphedema Therapist (CLT), Pelvic Rehabilitation Professional Certificate (PRPC) and Certified Yoga Therapist (CYT). She is a board member of Chicagoland Pelvic Floor Research Consortium, American Physical Therapy Association Section of Women's Health and Section of Oncology.

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Upcoming Continuing Education Courses

Mobilization of the Myofascial Layer - Medford, OR Satellite Location

Nov 6, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Asante Rogue Valley Medical Center

Nutrition Perspectives for the Pelvic Rehab Therapist - Seattle, WA (POSTPONED)

Nov 6, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: MTI Physical Therapy

Mobilization of the Myofascial layer: Pelvis and Lower Extremity- Greenville, SC (Postponed)

Nov 6, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Bon Secours St. Francis Health System

Mobilization of the Myofascial Layer Satellite Lab Course

Nov 6, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Mobilization of the Myofascial Layer - Athens, GA Satellite Location

Nov 6, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Thrive Integrated Medicine

Mobilization of the Myofascial Layer - Greenville, SC Satellite Location

Nov 6, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Bon Secours St. Francis Health System

Mobilization of Myofascial - Self-Hosted

Nov 6, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Self-Hosted Course

Nutrition Perspectives for the Pelvic Rehab Therapist - Remote Course

Nov 7, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Athletes & Pelvic Rehabilitation - San Diego, CA (Postponed)

Nov 7, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Comprehensive Therapy Services

Pelvic Floor Level 2B - Somerset, NJ Satellite Course

Nov 7, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Sports Medicine Institute

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Grand Rapids, MI (SOLD OUT)

Nov 7, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital

Pregnancy Rehabilitation - Washington, DC (Postponed)

Nov 7, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: GWUH Outpatient Rehabilitation Center

Bowel Pathology and Function -Middletown, CT (Postponed)

Nov 7, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Middlesex Hospital

Bowel Pathology and Function - Remote Course

Nov 7, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Pregnancy Rehabilitation - Remote Course (SOLD OUT)

Nov 7, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Pelvic Floor Level 2B - Satellite Lab Course

Nov 7, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Pelvic Floor Level 2B - Marietta, GA Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Nov 7, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Southern Pelvic Health

Pelvic Floor Level 2B - East Norriton, PA Satellite Course

Nov 7, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Core 3 Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2B - Cranford, NJ Satellite Course

Nov 7, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Ivy Rehab Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2B - Manchester, IA Satellite Course

Nov 7, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Physical Therapy Solutions

Pelvic Floor Level 2B - Richmond, VA Satellite Course

Nov 7, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Pivot Physical Therapy

Athletes & Pelvic Rehabilitation - Remote Course

Nov 7, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Pelvic Floor Level 2B - Self-Hosted

Nov 7, 2020 - Nov 8, 2020
Location: Self-Hosted Course

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Bay Shore, NY (Postponed)

Nov 8, 2020 - Nov 9, 2020
Location: Touro College: Bayshore

Mobilization of Visceral Fascia: The Gastrointestinal System - Jackson, WY Satellite Location

Nov 13, 2020 - Nov 15, 2020
Location: Four Pines Physical Therapy

Mobilization of Visceral Fascia: The Gastrointestinal System - Fairlawn, NJ (Postponed)

Nov 13, 2020 - Nov 15, 2020
Location: Bella Physical Therapy

Mobilization of Visceral Fascia: The Gastrointestinal System - Self-Hosted

Nov 13, 2020 - Nov 15, 2020
Location: Self-Hosted Course