We are Open!

Wellness Matters will remain open during the “Stay at Home” order.   We are able to do this due to our status as a health care facility and our desire to provide in-person support for those who need it.  We take our “exemption” to the Stay at Home order seriously and have instituted measures to protect the public, clients and ourselves from Covid19.

Feeling stressed, anxious or depressed?

Rita and Sandy are here to support you!  Managing the mental and emotional challenges at this unprecedented time can be overwhelming.   We can support you developing and implementing strategies for managing your stress, anxiety or depression.

As the current Covid19 situation was unfolding nation wide and across Minnesota, we proactively converted many of our clients to tele-health (i.e., on-line therapy) appointments, according to patient need and preference.  Going forward under the “Stay at Home” order, we understand that some people still prefer in-person mental health services and we will continue to offer them while taking extra measures to keep everyone safe.

Protective Measures:

Wellness Matters balances the personal needs of clients with the public need of safety.   We seek to maximize safety and minimize risk for those who prefer in-person mental health counseling and support:

1. We have exchanged our upholstered chairs for hard surface ones.

2. All hard surfaces are wiped down with disinfectant wipes both before and after each appointment.

3. We have disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer available to anyone who would like to use them.

4. “Off-set” appointment times are standard at Wellness Matters.  Rita meets with clients “on the hour” and the Sandy meets with clients on the “half hour.” This, in combination with many clients choosing on-line mental health counseling appointments, drastically limits client contact.

5. We have ample space in our lobby and offices to comply with the “social distancing” needs.

With all that being said, we recommend that anyone who has any symptoms of a cold/flu or who has underlying health conditions stay home and access our mental health support via tele-health.

Tele-therapy/Tele-health/On-line appointments are safe and easy!

If you prefer to stay at home, we can provide therapy totally on-line.  Our electronic health care record system allows clients to complete the intake paperwork on-line through our client portal – there is no need to come to the office to do any paperwork to initiate services. 

Our tele-health platform is HIPPA compliant – none of the images or sounds are “stored” or accessible by system administrators.  On-line appointments are super easy!  You just need a device with a camera and microphone – e.g., computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone.

If utilizing a computer or tablet, you just click on the link in the appointment reminder e-mail. If using a smart phone, downloading of a free app is necessary and then the method for “joining” the appointment is the same as on a computer.  

Self-Care while Staying at Home: 

Engaging in healthy self-care activities is critical in times of stress.  When we “don’t feel like it” the most is when we need it the most!

Think “Get back to the Basics”!  Good sleep, healthy nutrition, social connecting and activity/movement are all critical components of feeling good.   All of these contribute to stabilizing mood and emotions.

Sleep:  Try to keep your same consistent sleep schedule.  This will serve to keep your body’s circadian rhythm in sync with the light/dark cycle of the earth and generally helps us to “feel better.”

Nutrition:  If you are one of the ones forced off work, consider taking this time to research and prepare home-made meals made from simple, inexpensive ingredients.  Dusting off  the old church cookbooks that were published decades ago can be a great source of simple and tasty recipes.

Movement:  The days are getting longer and warmer!  Governor Waltz encouraged people to “get outside” and go for a walk.
We can do this safely as long as we maintaining six feet of space between ourselves and non-family members.  Movement and activity are great ways to help manage stress, anxiety and depression!  And our bodies and minds are craving Vitamin D after being cooped up all winter.

Social Connections:  If you are home with the kids while they are out of school, this is a great opportunity to “unplug” and engage them in some of the simpler pleasures that you grew up with:  puzzles, board games, playing cards, etc.  I have heard of many people enjoying calling and actually speaking with (rather than texting) family and friends!  If we can’t spend time with them, we can still enjoy the sound of their voice and meaningfully connect by phone.    When we connect with others, we are more likely to laugh and be distracted – both of which are great for mental health!

Feel the Feeling and Choose the Behavior!

Lack of motivation to engage in the above self-care activities is normal when we are feeling stressed.  Thankfully, as human beings, we have this amazing pre-frontal cortex which we an use to “over-ride” our “don’t feel like it” feeling!

We often mistakenly think that we should “feel like doing it” ( i.e., feel motivated)  before we do  the planned healthy behaviors.  The fact is, however, that we can do the behavior even when we don’t want to!  As adults,  we choose everyday to do some things that we really don’t feel like doing at the time (e.g, slowing down at a yellow light when we really want to go through it because we are in a hurry.)   In reality, we get the positive feelings from doing the healthy behaviors AFTER we do them.  It is doing the self-care behavior that activates the hormones and neurotransmitters that result in the positive feelings.  It  may be more effective to behave our way into a new way of thinking than to think our way into a new way of behaving.

Make a Plan

In working toward behavior change, research shows that making a specific plan involving small achievable steps helps to se ourselves up for success.  So, make a self-care plan for tomorrow that includes getting good sleep, making healthy food choices, engaging in activity, and connecting socially.  Be specific as to what and when, write it down, set alarms on your phone to remind you, verbally tell a couple of people what you are going to do and why, ask them to ask you about “how it went” and then “play the tape through” as to how GOOD it will feel when you follow the plan tomorrow.

When tomorrow comes, “feel the feeling and do the behavior”!  If you have conditioned yourself to not do the behavior if you don’t feel like it, expect that the feeling to not do it will be strong.  Notice it.  Feel it.  And then do the behavior anyway! Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.

Oh yeah, and let go of perfectionism!  Rather, adopt a”progress not perfection”  mantra and attitude.  You can do this!

Stay informed:

Avoid gossipy websites and on-line platforms whose information is not based on the research.  Below are links to ones whose information is based on science not speculation.  Limit watching of the news – yes, we need to keep  with the changes but too much viewing can over-load and overwhelm.  Consider watching the news to the same “level” that you did prior to the outbreak.

Post authored by Rita Anderson, MA, LPCC, LADC who is the owner of and therapist at Wellness Matters LLC in Park Rapids, MN.