Glass Half Full: How Resilient People Cope

Psych Central

with Jessica Loftus, Ph.D.

Glass Half Full: How Resilient People Cope

By Jessica Loftus
Last updated: 6 Apr 2020~ 2 MIN READ

A psychologist offers tips she learned from her clients to cope with the threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

During my 20 years as a psychologist and career counselor, I truly believe that I often learned more from my clients than they learned from me. During this global pandemic, I continue to be inspired by the courage shown by people who come to me for the treatment of their mental health disorders.

When the governor of my state issued a stay-at-home order, I stopped seeing clients at my office and offered counseling sessions via a simple telehealth platform. Providing services at no charge for those in need, I reached out to everyone on my caseload by email or phone per their contact agreements.

I beamed with pride to learn that my clients faced this crisis with amazing resilience and resourcefulness. Yes, they all were appropriately anxious. Yes, they exhibited more symptoms of OCD. Yes, they struggled more with sleep and overeating. And Yes, they all wished this too shall pass soon. But they all reported healthy ways to cope. Here I summarize them in a poem.

How to Cope Instead

Say things unsaid

Bake wholesome bread

Clear well your head

Savor books unread

Rest plenty in bed

Tend the homestead

Hear talks by Ted  

Cry tears unshed

Let creativity spread

Laugh till you’re red  

Play with Mr. Potato Head

On gratitude be fed

Through God be led

 Say Things Unsaid

Many people held essential conversations with loved ones, often about unresolved issues that smoldered for years. Many clients made breakthroughs they once thought unimaginable, seemingly miraculously.

Bake Wholesome Bread

People who loved to cook, never had to cook, struggled to cook tried new recipes. Several created a few of their own. They felt empowered to nourish their families and themselves.

Clear Well Your Head

Having plenty of spare time, many folks finally tried some of the stress-management tips that I provided them over the months and years. The Five-minute rule, deep breathing, aromatherapy and guided-imagery practices led the list in popularity.

Savor Books Unread

Avid readers rediscovered treasures on their bookshelves. Others ordered books online. Still, others asked me to suggest books. A personal favorite is the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Rest Plenty in Bed

No other event in our lifetime allowed people so much time to get plenty of rest. I often reminded everyone to stick to a consistent sleep schedule.

Tend the Homestead

I can’t count how many closets were cleaned, shelves were dusted, garages were de-cluttered and basements were transformed. Since home became the primary place to spend time, it needed to be as pleasant as possible.

Hear Talks by Ted

Ted TalksPsychCentral.com and many informative websites allowed many to learn new things and keep their minds sharp.

Cry Tears Unshed

Left with far fewer distractions, several people faced their grief over recent and remote losses. They allowed themselves to cry and express their grief with rituals at home.

Let Creativity Spread

They write, they draw, they journal, they tell stories, they sing, they knit, they dance, they sew, they make crafts – all in pursuit of creative pastimes.

Laugh till You’re Red

Comedy shows, sitcoms, reruns and movies provide plenty of amusing diversions.

Play with Mr. Potato Head

Card games, board games, video games, word games, question games, trivia games fill many hours with fun. Vintage toys like Mr. Potato Head inspires fond nostalgic memories.

On Gratitude be Fed

No question, simple blessings become more critical. For example, I was thrilled merely because my husband bought two rolls of toilet paper at a local drug store.

Through God be Led

Most people deepened their relationship with God. Many joined in worldwide prayers, worshipped in online services, read devotional books and heard daily scripture readings. Such practices encourage the positive virtues of humility, simplicity, generosity, forgiveness, faith, hope and love.

During these trying times, live life to the fullest by utilizing effective strategies to cope. This, too, shall pass.

Image is under license from Shutterstock.com26435

Jessica Loftus

Jessica Loftus has worked as a licensed clinical psychologist and national certified career counselor for more than 20 years. She currently offers counseling sessions via telehealth in the state of Illinois. Her website easywaystoeasestres.com outlines details. See her retired blog, “Pet Ways to Ease Stress” on PsychCentral.com.

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