Mental Health Respite, A Coping Skills Experiential Blog
with Dr. Lydiana Garcia
Something I tell my clients about this pandemic is that it’s like putting a magnifying glass - the sun is hitting you harder into your old wounds, opening some wounds because the sun is so intense with the magnifying glass. It's basically like putting up into the surface a lot of things that either were wounds that were not completely healed, or old wounds that suddenly are opening again. In basic language, this pandemic is bringing all the shit back up.
For many people, this is something that is really hard especially with the isolation. We now have less opportunities to connect in person and use this connection as a preventive mechanism for any kind of mental illnesses, or just for our mental health in general.
This is why I wanted to create this blog post that will help you feel more like a respite, to create like a spa for your mental health. It is divided in three parts: Resourcing, Reflective questions, and Guided meditation.
If you’re part of The Beyond Resilience Life community in The Mighty Network App, you’ll be able to download the Coping Skills Experiential worksheet and use it to write down your answers and reflections as you go through each of these skills and exercises.
It’s really important to give some caveats. If anything here triggers you, and brings old memories, you have a right to just stop, and engage in any of the resource and coping skills that work for you. If you need a reference to one, you can check Episode 7 of the podcast where I share my 5 favorite go-to skills to manage anxiety and trauma triggers.
A resource is anything that makes you feel better in terms of being imaginative. For many, it could be a person, a place, an experience, an animal, a spiritual guidance like an angel or from your spiritual beliefs. It’s anything you can bring into your awareness that provides that sense of comfort, and makes you feel better.
A. Safe Place
1. Bring into your awareness a place where when you imagine yourself being there, it creates a sense of comfort.
This could be any place, either that you've been there, or somewhere you saw from a movie or a TV show, or a place that somebody else shared. It could be any place, it could be a random place that you create in your own mind.
2. Expand on it with the below questions which you can write that down or just think in your mind:
a. a. What do you see in this place? (nature, colors, etc.)
b. What are the sounds in this place? (any animals sounds or nature sounds, music, etc.)
c. How's the temperature/weather in this place? (cold breeze, a warm breeze, sunny, cloudy and snowy, etc.)
d. What are some of the smells in this place? (flower or nature scents, perfume, food scents, etc.)
e. What kind of taste would you like to have in this place?What would you like to eat that would add to the coziness in this place?
3. Bring back the awareness to the whole place. As you're imagining and bringing into your awareness, just notice in your body how that makes you feel? (any sense of coziness, if there's any smile in your face, or is there any posture that you're doing in particular) and just keep that in mind.
You can stay here, pause and just meditate a little bit on it, or you can go on into the protective figure.
B. Protective Figure
1. Imagine and identify the person/s and/or thing/s that come into your mind that has that quality to make you feel protected.
This could be someone from your childhood, from your adulthood, a friend; an animal or a pet, a nonliving figure (a jewelry or an item that has spiritual significance for you), or from your spiritual perspective (if you believe in angels, or your God, or energy, or however you want to call if you have a higher power).
2. Explore the qualities that this figure/s have that make you feel protected.
3. Explore how your body feels when you bring into your awareness this protected figure.
4. Bring again into awareness your protective figure/s and just have in your awareness how they make you feel.
If the resource of the protected figure start to make you miss this person or you start to go into more of grief or sadness, you have the opportunity to come back and shift your awareness either to a new protective figure, or just a sense of protection in your body. And if that is not enough, then you can come back to that safe place that you just explore. That's your choice.
You can pause it here and keep delving in it to explore more about your protective figures, or we can move on.
These questions are more for you to reflect and see what resonates and if there's any messages that are coming for you.
There's no right or wrong answer. You can do this several times, on different occasions, and whether you have a pen and a piece of paper or just in your mind.
A. For your body
1. How does your body feel right now?
2. Where do you feel it?
3. What kind of sensations does your body have?
4. Notice these sensations and feelings in your body, do they intensify? Do they lessen?
5. What does your body, this feeling, this sensation want from you right now?
If there are several different areas, ask to each one of them what your body need right now.
6. How can you satisfy these need/s? Even if you can only do a little piece of that need to satisfy it, what would it be?
Any movement, any changes, if you need to do something else, whatever it is you can honor it, even if it's in a small scale.
7. How does your body feel afterward?
B. For your feeling
1. How do you feel right now?
2. What does this feeling try to convey, if anything, or teach you?
3. What is the need, if any, that is unfulfilled and behind this feeling?
Many times we have feelings because of some unfulfilled needs like physical needs, feelings of connection, feeling respected, loved, appreciated, validated, etc.
3. How can you satisfy this need?
Even if it's on a smaller scale, how can you satisfy this need right now or very soon.
C. For your thoughts
1. What are you thinking right now?
2. What does these thoughts try to convey, if anything, or teach you?
Are they sending you a message, or alerting you about something?
3. What is the need, if any, that is unfulfilled and that is behind these thoughts?
4. How can you satisfy this need?
What can you do to attend to what these thoughts are trying to convey, or the need that it's trying to fulfill? Even if it's on a smaller scale, how can you satisfy this need right now or very soon.
Here's again, another part where you can either stop, or stay here and go deeper.
Check PART II of the blog for the guided meditation.
You can also do these skills and exercises by listening to the full podcast episode at https://www.thebeyondresiliencelife.com/blog/mental-health-respite-a-coping-skills-experiential-episode
To get a copy of the worksheet with these reflective questions and information on how to create your resources, please join The Beyond Resilience Life community via the Mighty Network App HERE.
In case you've been kind of questioning your life, your worth, and thinking about hurting yourself or significantly hurting yourself, you can come and you can call that count. And you can call the National Suicide Prevention Prevention Lifeline, the phone number is 1-800-273-8255, it's 1-800-273-8255 it's available 24 hours, and the languages are English, Spanish and more.
For more information about ‘The Beyond Resilience Life Podcast’ please visit us at: