The Covid-19 pandemic continues to trigger a wide variety of emotional, physical, and economic issues for many people. Recent studies have put a name on the experience, Covid Stress Syndrome.
It’s happening in healthcare workers who are burned out and mentally exhausted, with teachers who are starting the school year amid unclear guidelines and uncertainty. You may have gone through the uncertainty of losing a job, changes in schools, and being separated from family and friends.
Covid Stress can be a heightened state of chronic stress, and it may resemble the symptoms of PTSD. This makes sense, since PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is defined as a condition that may occur after someone has experienced a traumatic, shocking, or scary event. The symptoms range from mild increases in stress and anxiety to more severe symptoms such as panic attacks, flashbacks and insomnia that affect a person’s ability to function in their day to day life.
Even if you never lost your job, didn’t get sick or didn’t lose anyone to Covid-19, there is evidence that suggests we are all living in a heightened state of stress. The separation from those we care about, combined with shut downs, social distancing, mask wearing, working from home, changes to a child’s schooling, and other interruptions to our normal lives has affected everyone in some way.
Higher levels of stress can cause:
Difficulties with concentration and focus
Changes to your eating patterns, such as not eating or over-indulging
New or increased substance abuse (tobacco, alcohol, or recreational drug use)
Worsening of chronic health problems and mental health conditions
People are also reporting an increase in worry and negative thoughts, as well as increases in irritability and shorter patience.
Thankfully, there are healthy and effective ways to treat symptoms of Covid Stress Syndrome and PTSD. Self care is a great place to start, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Just a few minutes of quiet each day can help increase your focus and lower your stress.
Being kind to yourself – It’s normal to have strong emotions when facing a life-altering event, even if “other people have it so much worse.”
Eating nutritious meals
Keeping to a schedule for eating, sleeping, showering, cleaning the home, etc.
Exercising – even as little as walking 15 minutes a day can help you reset your emotions
Limiting your news and social media consumption that keep your emotions running high.
Meditation or mindfulness is also very helpful for retraining the brain to be calmer and less anxious. In fact, studies show they actually help to increase your positivity and reduce negative thinking.
If you don’t know how to work with these modalities, you can find YouTube videos or books that will help, or you can talk to your doctor, mental health professional, or hypnotist.
The Role of Hypnosis
Hypnosis is an ideal way to lower stress levels both in the moment, and in the long term. Hypnosis can help you to change the way you respond to stressful situations, so that you feel calmer and more in control more often.
It is also considered by many professionals a first-line treatment option for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and works well in conjunction with traditional mental health treatments and medications. Hypnosis is an effective tool in resolving the underlying trauma, forging new reactions and behaviors to previously traumatic stimuli, and building new coping structures to maintain health and stability.
Hypnosis differs from many models of traditional “talk therapy” because hypnosis does not require a person to recount a traumatic experience, to talk about it, or “relive” the event in order to process it and begin healing.
In a typical hypnosis session for PTSD, the client is given multiple tools, resources, and opportunities to get back a sense of control over their thoughts and feelings. One method, called ego strengthening, uses a variety of techniques to connect clients with the parts of themselves that are, for example, strong, safe, happy, and confident. Once connected, a physical “anchor” is established to lock in those emotional states, allowing the client to call on those positive feelings any time, anywhere with just a simple, small gesture or thought.
Regression is a hypnotic method that can be successfully used to help clients process traumatic memories. The hypnotist uses creativity and imagination to help the client walk through the traumatic event within a safe place in their imagination, but this time using resources they didn’t have at the time. When this work is done in hypnosis, it changes the way the memory affects the body and mind. The result is that clients are no longer held hostage by the past.
Another way that hypnosis is used in the relief of stress and symptoms of PTSD is through the process of neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity uses imagination, language patterns, and hypnotic techniques to break the connections between the “event” brain cells and the “reaction” brain cells, and reconnects the “event” brain cells with a new, more desirable reaction.
In the safety of the controlled environment a professional hypnotist provides, we can create the space for clients to resolve those emotional states, to heal, to rebuild, and move forward.🍥