Gulf Coast Center’s latest Texans Recovering Together Crisis Counseling Program offers free and confidential services for anyone affected by COVID-19 in Brazoria and Galveston Counties. Services are provided to all ages and diverse groups.

Empathic counselors are available to listen, understand and guide clients through their stressors. Some of the everyday stressors experienced during this pandemic could be anxiety, loneliness, frustration, anger, fear, sadness, hopelessness, burn out and isolation.

Gulf Coast Center is available to provide workshops and presentations to organizations on various mental health-related topics, such as self-care, stress management, coping skills, task organization, problem-solving skills, compassion fatigue and many more. 

Here are some easy tips and techniques that one can incorporate into daily living: 

Maintain a healthy diet

Keeping track of what we consume in our bodies is very important not only for our physical health but also for our mental health.

If you are looking to make changes to your eating habits, start by writing down what you already eat and notice where you can make changes easily.

A small change can be substituting water for every other sugary drink.

Get enough sleep

Setting a routine before bedtime is essential — turn off lights, screens and any other electronic devices to give your eyes time to relax.

Make sure your sleeping area is used only for sleeping, so you can train your mind to only sleep there.

Silence your phone and other electronic devices.

Practice breathing

exercises

Doing breathing exercises has proven to release tension and anxiety.

Inhale slowly through your nose for five seconds, exhale slowly through your mouth for five seconds.

Look up mindful meditation exercises and follow along.

One example of the mindful technique is to focus on your breath and notice how your body moves with each inhale and exhale; try to focus only on this. If your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breathing.

Limit exposure to news and social media

News and social media showing negative occurrences in the world can occupy your mind if not careful.

Set aside a time during the day to get your news, and then turn it off for the day.

Focus on what you can control

When we are in a slump, we often feel hopeless and helpless.

In times like these, it’s essential to focus on things we can control, such as our perspective and our thoughts and behaviors.

Changing perspective takes patience, time and practice.

Train your mind to notice positive things and make a note of them.

As small positive things get noticed over time, they become more significant and more noticeable. 

The services the Gulf Coast Center Crisis Counseling Program provides are virtual currently, which include individual and group counseling. Individual counseling focuses on reducing anxiety, finding balance and getting support during a crisis. Group counseling provides support groups, psychoeducational groups and workforce groups. The Crisis Counseling Program offers community networking, support, referrals and resources. 

To talk to a professional about your stressors, to receive more helpful tips and strategies or get more information, please call the COVID-19 Support Line at 1-800-643-0967. All services are FREE and confidential. Bilingual counselors are available (Spanish and Urdu).

You can also visit the website at gulfcoastcenter.org, Facebook Page at facebook.com/GulfCoast

Center and Instagram Page at instagram.com/gulfcoastcenter. 

If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, call the 24/7 Crisis Hotline at 866-729-3848.   

This article was written by the Gulf Coast Center. 

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