The New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program Is Here for Your Well-Being
NJLAP is reaching out to New Jersey attorneys to let you know that we are here for you during this COVID19 emergency. Although our offices are closed, staff is working from home, and you can reach us at 800-246-5527. We also are posting updated information here: https://mailchi.mp/4e426c4829b4/njlapmeetingcancel and on our Facebook page, which appears directly on the home page of www.njlap.org. In addition, we will sending out weekly emails, like this one, to provide supportive and helpful information.
Fear and Anxiety During The COVID19 Emergency
‑ Denise Golonka, MA, LPC, LCADC, DRCC
NJLAP Clinical Manager
Life can be uncertain and anxiety producing on a normal day, challenging our coping mechanisms just navigating our regular responsibilities and environment. But what happens when a global pandemic disrupts what we considered “normal”? Will we utilize our usual coping techniques, or find that they are not as effective in the face of such an overwhelming challenge? Or, could we even revert to less than helpful habits?
Slipping into bad habits is not a matter of will-power or strength. In times of crisis, the brain scrolls through memories looking for the experience of a similar situation. Its takes stock of how we, or those caring for us, reacted at that time. In general, the brain will follow the path of least resistance, which might be utilizing less than helpful coping skills.
It’s important to slow down, to take time to recognize a new or unprecedented reality, and acknowledge the feelings it creates. When our brain “suggests” a coping mechanism, evaluate its efficacy. Has this worked well in the past? Is this manner of coping sustainable? Are there skills that I may have learned and practiced in one part of my life, that might help me now in other areas?
Be aware that we can easily slip into autopilot. We may find ourselves thinking and behaving in ways that we cannot differentiate as either healthy or unhealthy. That is the time to connect with those you trust and talk things over. How are others doing? How do they see you managing? How might you help each other?
In this NY Times Article, psychologist Dr. Harriet Lerner shares practical ways for us to manage the fear and anxiety that seem to be omnipresent. Check out the article and let us know how YOU are doing! We are here to help, listen and love check-ins!