[Recorded on 14/12/20 – Read the transcript below]
Hi there. It’s Dr. Courtney Raspin from Altum Health and here we are again, week 10 of the Viral Positivity Plan. We made it. We’re in our final week and, wow, it’s been such a journey and really so much fun to put this plan together for you. And thank you so much for joining me. And I hope that over the last 10 weeks, some of the tips and the advice and the techniques that we’ve been giving you have helped kind of keep you afloat, giving you other ways of managing your mental health. You know when 2020 seems to want to ruin it for all of us, it’s been really, really hard.
I’m still coming to terms with the fact that we are going into tier three on Wednesday in London. It sucks. It really does suck, doesn’t it? But we have to believe that we’re getting towards the end of this, we really do. Come on, it’s the end of a year, the vaccine is coming along. So even if we can’t go out and party and socialize with our friends, the way we would want to, at least most of us will get a little bit of a rest, even if it’s just at home. So, got to let go of the expectations a bit.
I’m going to say hello here to some people that are joining us. Hello, Pip and Emma. Hi, Kim and Sean. Thanks for joining us for our final week. There’s Sally, as well. Hey, Sal. Sorry, Sal, we can’t go out now. Oh well, what are we going to do? I was just talking about letting go of expectations. There’s Margie. Hey, Marge. All my lovely friends and supporters, we’re going to have to put off our Christmas plans. Let go of expectations a little bit, but that is okay. I was thinking that kind of letting go of expectation links very nicely to my advice last week, and I’m going to have to take it myself. Take some of my own advice about letting go of perfectionism.
So we talked about what perfectionism is and how those of us who have a little streak of this might be struggling a little bit right now in this time of year. And so letting go of some of those expectations is my way of letting go of some of that perfectionism, allowing myself to do that. I think in other ways about my house, I’m one of those people that’s kind of happy to live with things being normal. And then when people come over, it’s like, “Get the Hoover out! Jess, what are you doing? Pick your stuff up.” Why do we do this?
And I was thinking about and it’s because we want people to think that… I don’t know what we want people to think, that we’re something that we’re not. Yeah? And I was thinking, I’m going to take a piece of my own advice. My house looks like people live here and they do. And it’s part of what makes it a warm home. So if you come over and there are dishes in the sink, that’s the way it is. And people are going to like me more for it, I think, I hope. We’ll find out because it seems more normal. Yeah? It’ll seem more normal. So that’s my way of letting go of my perfectionism a bit as well.
Now this week… Actually, before I go onto this week, how did you guys get on? Anybody try anything, give yourself permission to let go a bit? Come on, let me hear. It’s really hard to give ourselves permission to let go. Permission, not to be perfect. Permission to just let things be as they are. So if you tried anything, let me know. I’ve been getting some messages from you this week, but if you feel comfortable sharing here, then please do that. But I will move on. I’ll move on to what this week is about, our final week. And it’s about getting some help. Okay? This is really about different ways that you can reach out and get some support over the holiday season because it’s been a heck of a year. It’s been a heck of a year for everybody. The pandemic has meant so much uncertainty. You could be worried about your financial situation, about your health, about the health of people in your family. Everybody’s on high alert right now. And that’s normal during this very strange period.
You have to remember that life’s usual structure. Yeah? The day-to-day routines that we had in place and the basic pleasures like parties and socializing and spending time and being in groups. This has been taken away from us very, very quickly. So it’s totally understandable that symptoms of anxiety and depression start to come up, or maybe there’s a mental health difficulty that you are coping with fairly well. And all of a sudden it’s become more difficult for you to cope with that. And that’s because these are natural ways of coping with distress. We tend to fall back on things that are familiar. So just cut yourself a bit of slack. It’s a distressing time and you’re falling back on familiar coping strategies.
Now, if you are feeling unhappy or depressed or anxious, or you’re struggling with your eating, don’t try and deal with it on your own. There’s so much help out there. And tonight, I’m going to talk you through some of the ways that you can find that help. Okay? The first thing you’ve got to do though is be honest with yourself, have a good look at yourself. Okay? How are you coping? How are you eating? How are you sleeping? Yeah? How are you functioning? What’s your motivation like? Really be honest with yourself about how you’re doing, because I think we can get so focused on everyone else that we start to forget how we really are.
So really be honest with yourself and take stock. And if you are struggling, it might just mean that you need a little bit of support and it might just mean that you can get online and find what it is that you need. Because even just reading about the things you’re going through yourself can be so normalizing. And there’s a lot of guidance out there about what you can do to feel better.
I’m just going to say hello here. Hello, Ryan. Sweet Ryan. And Phoebes. Hello, Phoebes. How you doing? Thank you for joining us. Thank you for joining me tonight for the final week of the Positivity Plan. We’re talking about all the guides that you can find online, if you are struggling. And one of the things that you can do is check out the Altum Health blog, because there is a lot on there. Some advice dealing with common mental health struggles, tools and techniques for managing those things. One of my favorite things on there, and you’ll find it, if you go through the grid, okay, it’s called my favorite grounding technique. And if you are feeling anxious, if you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s fantastic. My favorite grounding technique.
And I’m going to go through here just a real summary of it, but make sure you look at the video because it takes you through it from beginning to end. And what it does is it harnesses the power of our senses to bring us back into the present. So my favorite grounding technique, if you’re feeling overwhelmed is to start with five things that you can see. Yeah? And then move to four things that you can feel. It can just be your clothes or the feeling of your body against the chair. Then it moves into three things that you can hear. Two things that you can smell. And then one good thing about yourself. So it’s five, four, three, two, one.
If you look at the video, it’s really, really easy to do. You can do it wherever you are. You don’t need any tools or anything like that. So you can just sit in your car and do it. Go into the toilet if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed and do this. It’s really, really lovely. Emma’s saying that she loves this technique and that she’s a nervous flyer and it really helps. It really does help because it anchors you in the present using resources that are always with you, your senses. So it’s fantastic. So please go ahead and have a look at that.
There are other things that you can do and get online. All right? And we’ll get to those in a minute, but I was thinking for those of you that have a therapist and you’re going to have a long break, that can be really, really hard. So talk to your therapist about ways that you can help stay connected if you struggle with those long breaks. Different therapists work in different ways. Okay? Some people will have a firm boundary about not contacting them over the break. That might be your therapist. Other therapists will say, “Hey, why don’t you write me an email halfway through. I’ll read it when I can.” They may or may not respond. And that’s something you can negotiate with your therapist. I know that for me, sometimes I arrange little like 10-minute text exchanges or a 10-minute phone call at a particular point that my clients can look forward to, just to touch base at a certain point in the break.
There are also some creative things that you can do. One thing that I’m doing with one of my clients right now, I want to find this for you, is we’re making a lovely… There it is. Where is it? It’s a little box. It’s an advent calendar that we created together and it’s coming up here and it’s something that she can use. Just a second here. I will find it. There it is. We made little boxes. She bought this and every day she can open up one of the boxes and we put a little inspirational message inside. We can write down one of the techniques that she’s found helpful in there. Sometimes what we’ll do is we’ll anchor places of safety with certain objects through a guided meditation and we’ll put it in there. Sometimes we’ll just put funny things that we know are going to make her smile.
And I’ll put in some surprises, so she’ll have no idea because I know that laughter is also very healing. She and I were laughing about the fact that sometimes she says really terrible things to herself. Yeah? So she might say to herself, “You’re a big fat slob.” So I might just write in there, “No, you’re not.” And she’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. And then turn it over and put something challenging to that voice on the other side as well. So, that’s something that you can do with your therapist. You can decorate it any way you want.
Another thing that I do, and I can’t seem to find the picture here, but that’s okay. We’ll just come back here. I create a jar, just like a big glass jar. And it’s called kind of a thought jar. And every time you have certain thoughts that you would like to discuss with your therapist, but you don’t have your therapist there, keep some Post-its there and just write down the thoughts, fold it up and put it into the jar. And again, you can decorate this with your therapist too, so that when you come back from the break, you just present this jar to your therapist and reach out in there and have a look at some of the things that you want her to communicate. It’s really lovely and I have had a lot of success doing this with my clients. So really, really wonderful. Of course, journaling is great. But those are two creative ways that you might want to speak to your therapist about keeping connected over these longer breaks.
Now with regards to more online support, don’t forget about the amazing charities and organizations that are out there. The Samaritans is around all of the time and Beat, the UK’s biggest eating disorders charity is open 365 days a year. They’re going to be open for a certain period of time on Christmas Day. I know that Christmas and the holiday period can be especially hard for those people struggling with eating disorders and Beat is just a wonderful, wonderful resource for you.
I’m trying to think if there was anything else I wanted to share with you. I guess, just to say that here at Altum, we’re also here for you. We are open until the 24th and then we will close for just a small period of time. We’ll still be receiving messages. And then we’ll open again on the 4th of January. So give us a ring. And if you want, you can take us up on our offer of the free 20 minute consultation. You can sign up from the website, book a consultation. It’s a free 20 minutes where you’ll get to talk to me. We can talk through your difficulties, what it is you’re looking for in therapy. And I’ll try and connect you with the best therapist to suit your needs. So there are still some slots available, I think before Christmas and definitely some throughout January. So what’s there to lose? Please go ahead and make a time if you want to talk some things through.
Now, we’ve reached the end of the Positivity Plan, but you haven’t seen the end of me. You can’t get rid of me that easily. I will be back in January with more resources, more recordings, more lives to help you feel the best you can and take care of your mental health. But between now and then, I want to wish you a very, very Happy Holiday season, a Merry Christmas. I hope you stay well. I hope you stay safe. And I’ll be thinking of you all. So I’ll see you in 2021. Bye, everyone.