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Staying Well Together: At Home With Your Thoughts? Tips From Dr. Holly Kozee

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KIU, Main Campus – On 4th May 2020, President Yoweri Museveni announced an extension of 14 days to the Uganda’s COVID-19 lockdown period.

As lots of us have been, and are currently, spending many weeks at home, the lack of social interaction and daily routines may lead to overthinking and getting stuck in our thoughts.

Dr. Holly Kozee, a Licensed Psychologist and Founder of Empower Therapy for Women, provides the a few tips to help keep a positive attitude and a healthy mind during the lockdown.

Dr. Kozee founded Empower to help women regain a sense of control and authorship in their lives. She specializes in postpartum depression and anxiety, self-esteem, and healing from partner infidelity and divorce. Empower provides individual and group psychotherapy to provide tools that aid women in their own self-healing or self-actualization.

“Staying at home for many days can be emotionally challenging, and after a while, many people may feel like they are ‘locked with their thoughts’,” says Dr. Kozee.

In many ways, the Coronavirus pandemic has acted like a giant pause button on our everyday lives. Without our normal routines and social outlets, there’s so much less external noise than there normally is. With less to distract us, any worries or self-doubts that we might have already been struggling with are likely magnified.

“Plus, many of us are facing extra stress due to worries about health or finances, or the added tension of being cooped up with all the members of our households,” she adds.

In addition to this, the Ministry of Health launched the #Tonsemeberera Campaign which means “Don’t come near me. Keep your distance,” emphasizing social distancing and the restrictions therein.

This can make coping even more difficult. Many of us are having to socially distance ourselves from some of the main people in our support system, which can take a huge toll after a while. To top it all off, most of the activities that you might normally do for stress relief, like meeting with a friend are likely, not an option right now.

Research has found that as little as 20 minutes each day of journaling can have a significant impact on stress and promote more positive thinking.

“If you find yourself locked in your thoughts and can’t seem to break free consider a little time journaling each day. This is a wonderful way to help release negative thoughts. If the thoughts you had were especially negative, some find it helps to physically throe the paper away when you’re done,” Dr. Kozee says.

“I would also recommend making a little time each day for an activity that promotes mindfulness, or a connection to the present moment. For some, this might mean doing some deep breathing, listening to a guided imagery exercise, or mediating. Others might prefer activities that involve their senses. For some, some great mindfulness activities could be a relaxing bath, or taking a walk outside in the mornings.”

Dr. Kozee also recommends funneling energy into creative pursuits for people who enjoy playing music or singing, arts and crafts, and/or cooking.

“Lastly, try to get moving in some way. A lot of us are binge-watching television even more than we normally would so we’re less physically active. Consider doing a yoga or exercise class online, or if you’re able, go for a walk or a bike ride,” she says.


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