NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – A tornado, protests, ten month pandemic, a bombing on Christmas morning and a riot at the U.S. Capitol likely made you feel some type of way — especially when it comes to your mental health.
“There’s been a ton of agitation, and nervousness and tension,” said licensed marriage and family therapist Stacy Jagger.
Jagger said over the last 10 months, she’s seeing people in her practice who are overwhelmed. That can be anywhere from irritability, accelerated heart rates, irrational fears and not sleeping at night.
“Some people are having a feeling of terror that they haven’t experienced before,” she said.
A lot of that stems from events since March in Middle Tennessee and an unknown fear of what is still to come.
“What it’s doing is it’s expanding our window of tolerance. So our nervous systems are being wrecked by all of the onslaught of stress that’s coming at us.”
Not only are adults dealing with stress, so are kids.
“I’m seeing children that are presenting with Trichotillomania which is where they’re pulling out their eyebrows, eyelashes — sometimes they have a piece of hair missing that many times the parents don’t know about. Some children are having self-harming behaviors," Jagger said.
She’s also seeing children who don’t want to live anymore. She said if that’s the case, take that seriously and reach out for help.
In other situations, she recommends the BREATHE method.
B – Bare feet on bare soil and ground yourself in the earth.
R – Relax your nervous system by reducing screen time as much as possible.
E – Especially Yoga and meditation.
A – Ask for help.
T – Temperance. If you can reduce sugar, alcohol, and caffeine from your diet.
H – Healthy diet.
E – Easy does. Learn to give yourself some grace.
“What I tell a lot of people is this is a great challenge in our lives right now. But if you compare it with great support — if you can have both, then you have kind of an interesting opportunity to grow even in the midst of this much challenge,” she said.
Jagger also encourages you to form a “framily” if you don’t have family close by, and make sure you have support from friends.