If you’re not feeling like yourself lately, you are not alone. Whether dealing with the health concerns of COVID-19, the financial worries, the schooling questions — or all of the above, we are all trying to adjust.

At mConnexions, we see you, we hear you, and we are in this together!

The next guest in our lineup of Expert Connexions interviews knows this mantra well.

Joyce Marter is a psychotherapist, author, and national public speaker. Her work is published all over the world. She is also a successful entrepreneur — and a mom who, like all of us, is quarantined at home right now.

Transcript:

Julie: Facebook live series called expert connexions. I’m Julie Holton. I am the founder and principal strategist at mConnexions marketing agency. I launched this special series of live interviews on Sunday because at mC we work with a variety of businesses and individuals all of whom all of us are dealing with the changes and challenges that are coming from coronavirus. So we are helping in the best way that we know how at mConnexions by launching this series called expert connexions to talk about these changes and challenges and how it’s disrupting our normal life and how to find our new normal while this is going on so. I am so glad you are joining us today. We’ve had thousands of people connecting with us since our series started on Sunday. Give us a thumbs up, let me know if you are seeing me and hearing me okay. Feel free to join in the comments and let us know if you have questions, if you have comments, join the conversation. So we are I’m so excited to bring to you our next guest today because she is someone that really lives this mantra well. We see you, we hear you, we are in this together so I’m gonna bring in now Joyce Marter. Joyce is a psychotherapist, an author, and a national speaker. Her work is published all over the world. She’s a successful entrepreneur and she’s also a mom who like all of us is quarantined at home right now. Joyce, thank you so much for joining me.

Joyce: Oh my gosh thank you so much for having me Julie. I really appreciate it. I’m excited.

Julie: Well I am excited to hear um Joyce some of your insight and I promise those that I’ve been talking to you in advance of this interview, I promised them this would not turn into a personal therapy session, but it is that way of sorts so many people are going through such similar things right now. So Joyce the first thing I want to ask you is, what are some of the common responses that you’re seeing that people are having because of coronavirus?

Joyce: Well uncertainty and change are always difficult for people and it creates a lot of anxieties. So many of us are having fear of all the unknowns. You know not knowing when this is going to end and how it’s gonna affect our work and our families and our lives. So that uncertainty creates a tremendous amount of stress and then also we’ve had a lot of change. Many of us are working from home now. Some of our events or vacations that we’ve had planned have been canceled. Our kids are home from school and we’re having more togetherness with our families which brings its blessings in and its challenges,

Julie: Absolutely, so Joyce you know I wonder how can we, I mean first thing let’s talk about our mental health, what are some things that we can do for ourselves and then we’re going to talk about kids a little bit later, but first focusing on ourselves right putting the oxygen mask on first. What are some things that we can do to help with our own mental health and help deal with some of those anxieties?

Joyce: Well one of the most important things is to pay attention to our self-talk because cognitive behavioral therapy says that it’s our thoughts that precede our emotions and our behaviors. So we want to pay attention to our thinking. We want to make sure that we’re not having catastrophic thinking about worst-case scenarios in the future and that we’re keeping our talk positive, so that’s really important. I love CBT workbooks; I’ve actually gotten some for my kids as well. So they kind of help us restructure any negative thinking and to do more neutral and positive beliefs. Another technique that’s really important is just to keep it in the present moment. We know from mindfulness that our minds often worry about the past, we second-guess the past, and right now many of us are worrying about the future. When really peace can be found in the present moment. So one of the best ways to improve our mental health is to connect with the here and now and so we can do that through simple breath exercises, through guided meditations. I always think meditation is like a reboot for the mind, body, and spirit and I love apps like calm and headspace that have guided breathing and meditations. I love relaxation meditations. There’s something called yoga Nidra, which is a guided meditation that’s super relaxing and there are many of those on YouTube. So practicing those types of mindfulness practices can bring our attention to the breath and as we deepen and relax and slow our breath, we can calm our mind and our bodies and remind us that basically right now we are safe, we are well, we are okay, and instead of worrying about the future. So those are a couple important things. I think also self-care is really important for all of us and we want to be careful that our self-care isn’t self-harm. So making sure that we’re not over drinking or overusing substances. I was talking with one of my Northwestern students yesterday and we were joking about the quarantine fifteen because we’re feeling a little concerned. We are at home and the refrigerator is right there and we are bored. So I think being mindful of your self-care practices, your health, your nutrition, your sleep, your exercise. You know many of us can’t go to the gym or the yoga studio like we might normally, so we have to come up with some new methods at home. I heard Peloton is offering even free exercises now for a month which is great even if you don’t have the bike.

Julie: Great! Yes, I mean definitely I think you mentioned calm as well. An app for I know I have it on my phone for sleeping to help sleep, but you know the guided breathing techniques would be great and I believe I saw an ad for calm with you know a month free so check out those free trials for sure. Now is the time to use them.

Joyce: There’s a lot of those and even just having relaxing music. Anything to kind of calm and relax your mind, body, spirit. Keeping your space organized, keeping it you know positive, lighting candles, doing whatever is going to lift your mood and making sure you’re creating a schedule is really important. So making sure that you’re getting enough sleep, that you’re getting up in the morning. One of my students was talking about laying in bed and Netflixing until noon, which is maybe not the best. So we want to make sure we’re getting up, we’re doing our work, we’re scheduling in our workouts, and also scheduling in some alone time because well if we’re living with many people we may need to make sure that we’re having some time for solitude or we might lose our minds. Right? There are probably a lot of moms and dads nodding their heads right now. A lot of spouses who are working together in the same home. Absolutely. I find even the bathtub is a good place to get some space. I was thinking of that too. I mean you put a few essential oils in, help calm you, a little lavender, take a relaxing bath, lock the door so no one can come in. I did that all last night. I announced to my family that I was having my alone time last night.t I watched some of my favorite shows and I did a facial mask. Can you tell? Some other little treatments. It felt great, it was good.

Julie: Joyce I want to also talk about um you know we were kind of joking a little earlier that there are some people like me, you know I’m used to being very social being out and about and now I’m kind of quarantined at home with my dogs and so can you talk a little bit about kind of leaning on your support system and finding new ways to find your support system because loneliness is a real thing and the mindset of what we’re going through can cause anxiety in and of itself.

Joyce: Absolutely. We need each other. We need to connect with each other and when we’re not going to work and we’re quarantined or staying at home it can be really isolating which can for some people really trigger depression and also you know some people who are in recovery this could be a real time of potential relapse so it’s really important for people in recovery to attend their meetings online and for everyone else to make sure that you are socially connecting. So there are you know support groups available online, therapists are available online. We’re all doing teletherapy these days. All the insurance companies have approved it and there are HIPAA compliant platforms and I think people are getting really creative. Some of my friends were talking about hosting game nights with their friends and just you know you can all have Yahtzee out and take your turns you know over video chat or Netflix started this Netflix party thing.

Julie: Yes, I tried that myself already.

Joyce: How was that?

Julie: It you know, it’s kind of weird because you’re – I mean it’s weird because it’s different, but it’s really cool that you can be you can have a bunch of people on there and I’ll be watching the same movie at the same time same you know it’s all in sync and it’s pretty cool actually. A whole new way of doing things.

Joyce: Absolutely. I was talking with another friend who was having a virtual tea with her boyfriend and his parents. People are having virtual happy hours or you know virtual lunches and I think it’s important to make plans and to put them in your schedule. So if you’re gonna have you know a night to yourself or a game night or something like that putting that in. Making sure you get outside and get some sunlight, I think can be really helpful. Even being in different rooms in your home if you can. So on the opposite end of the spectrum, you know you talked about loneliness and depression from maybe people who are not with loved ones, but would like to be. What about the opposite end of the spectrum? We have spouses that are home together. We have households of children. What are some relationship tips for kind of weathering through this? First of all, I think we have to all cut ourselves and each other a lot of slack because this is stressful. People are trying to work from home, while having kids from home. The kids have cabin fever. They may, depending on their age, be experiencing some anxiety as well or boredom and so we’re kind of having to entertain them and work at the same time as well. I think it’s important to just really dial down the expectations and you know the hope of perfection and just realize that we’re all doing the best that we can and it’s okay and you know. I really practice a lot of empathy. I think that empathy is the magic wand in relationships so really try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes or your kid’s shoes and understand how they feel. So you know right now I have a senior in high school who’s really concerned that she may not have a prom and may not have a graduation. While there are some people who are dealing with perhaps much more serious problems, those are big losses for her. Absolutely. So you know, needing to honor people’s losses and there may be little kids sad that they’re not having their morning ritual, seeing their friends at the bus stop and stuff like that. So letting people know that you understand how they feel, that their feelings are normal, and a natural response to everything that’s going on and arguing with someone’s feelings like you know don’t be mad, don’t be worried. That usually doesn’t work super well, so I would not recommend that. Just you know practicing a lot of compassion and patience with one another. I think this probably isn’t the time to address major serious relationship issues.

Julie: Well it looks like we may have lost Joyce so while we wait for Joyce to be able to jump back in, she was just talking about dealing with relationships and giving some advice for how to get through this quarantine, if you are home with your spouse, home with your children. When Joyce comes back we’re going to talk about how you talk to your kids? What are some of her tips, her guidance, for talking with children of all ages as they get through this. So some of the things Joyce was saying at the very beginning, she was talking about self-care. Taking time for yourself. Even if you’re in a house full of other people who are quarantined and what that might look like. She was talking through tips for loneliness. Making sure that we’re leaning on our support systems right now. That we are reaching out virtually, digitally, to be able to stay connected. Different apps that can help with that. Netflix has a new program called I think it’s called Netflix party where you can actually sync up what you’re watching on Netflix and connect with other users and be able to chat through the show together and watch the show together. Having a virtual game night using zoom or Google Hangouts as a way to connect with other people. So really finding ways to stay connected while all of this is going on and so if we get Joyce back we will bring her back in line to talk about, how to talk to children. Looking at some of our comments here, Seth Barnhill Seth says, I think I already did the quarantine 15 and it’s only day 4. Seth I hear you. I was calling it the COVID-19 because I think I might have gained more than the 15 so I see Stephanie, your wife, is on here so those relationship tips that Joyce was giving us will be good for you. So it looks like Joyce is actually back. I’m gonna bring her in. Joyce we have been experiencing some technical issues on and off and we were talking about bandwidth issues and you are not the first. I lost my internet a couple days ago in the middle of a Facebook livestream and so glad to have you back.

Joyce: Glad to be back. Yeah we all have to kind of learn to be flexible during these times right?

Julie: Absolutely and so I was just talking to our audience. I was promising them that when you came back we would talk about how to talk to kids. You were just talking about you know whole age range, from your senior in high school who’s dealing with all of these lasts in high school that now she may not get and that’s gotta be just absolutely devastating and like you said for her and her frame of mind like that is her world so even though maybe it might be minor to some people, it’s really big to her and then we also have children you know too young to really understand what’s going on, but maybe seeing their parents worry and their parents anxiety. So what guidance can you give us on how to be having these conversations with children?

Joyce: Well your kind of gave the answer in your question, when you mentioned that you know our kids seeing our own anxieties. So one of the best ways that we can support our kids is by taking care of ourselves and making sure to be calm and positive and look at the good part, so you know practicing gratitude and really not sharing our fears and concerns and worries with our kids. We can turn to our friends and to each other to talk about that, but not turn to our children for those conversations because we don’t want to scare them. We know depending on their age, you’re right that small children are oblivious. They don’t know what’s going on and that’s a blessing in many ways so no need to provide more information than then you know if they’re not asking for it then I wouldn’t offer anything that they’re not asking because it could potentially be scary and then for children who are aware, but are still young you know maybe between six and twelve you know. I think answering their questions honestly and truthfully in a way that is positive and reassuring and calming and reflects hope and confidence that everyone will be fine, we will be fine, we’ll move through this and give them some tools to self-soothe you know. Calm does have a version for kids, so I know my girls still use the mindfulness coloring books and they like doing puzzles. All of those kinds of activities are really calming and then for older kids like mine who are teenagers and they’re smart and they’re on their phones and they’re seeing the news. They have lots of questions and lots of fears and anxieties and so you know really coaching them to do the same things that we talked about. You know keeping the self-talk positive, staying in the present, taking it one day at a time, we’re all doing the best that we can.

Julie: Joyce I want to throw up a couple of resources on the screen because you have a lot of resources on your website, so the first thing I’m going to put up is Joyce-marter.com. Joyce has a lot of blogs and information articles about everything from how to talk to your kids, to practicing self-care, dealing with relationship issues. Not all necessarily related to COVID-19, but certainly applicable in this sense and so Joyce-marter.com is a great place to go. Joyce you also put together some resources, so I’m gonna put this up on the screen as well. You can text KEYS to 33777 and that is where Joyce has some great information on practicing self-care. Joyce, can you talk about what’s on that webpage as far as the wheel handouts that you use when you’re doing some of your national public speaking?

Joyce: So I’ve created these wheel handouts which are exercises that are my gifts to you and one of them is self-care. So it’s perfect for this topic and you can print these out and complete them at home and basically each spoke of the wheel is a different aspect of self-care and you’re measuring how well you’re doing in that particular area and by connecting the dots on the wheel. After you’ve rated yourself you can see some areas of deficit or need so that you can address those and work on developing comprehensive self-care. Sometimes we’re better in one area then we are in another so it’s a good tool. It may be good for your adolescents or college kids that might be home as well. Excellent. Thank you for that. Some of the other tools to talk about, support network. So we may have to think about virtually, how do we have that support in different areas? Emotional support, how are you having your friendship support? How are you having your professional support? Through meetings like this or classes online. How are you connecting with your spiritual support? If you can’t maybe go to your normal meditation group or church or synagogue how can you still practice your spirituality? Which can be a huge source of support and reassurance at a time like this.

Julie: Absolutely so thank you for making that available again you can text KEYS to 33777, right there on your screen. Joyce before I let you go, I want to talk about one more topic that I know is weighing very heavily on a lot of people’s minds and that’s the financial aspects of what we’re going through. You’re an entrepreneur yourself, so you know you know exactly what I’m talking about. Can you talk about for us what are some of your advice as far as how to get through dealing with all of these financial worries?

Joyce: Oh my goodness absolutely. Financial anxiety is a really common issue now; you know depending on really across the spectrum. People who you know I’m obviously very concerned about the poor and you know the hardships that the people working in the service industries are experiencing and some people who are working from home now are might be concerned that their jobs will be eliminated at some point if the company’s they are working for can’t sustain business in this type of virtual environment and then there’s some people who are worried about the stock market and so I think we just again have to reel it back into just today and recognize that we’ve got to take it one day at a time and not leap those fears into the future and you know really trust that things will be okay and they will play out the way that they need to. So you also take care of resources you know. Talking to your financial planner, checking in and getting support if you are in need of assistance. There are so many places that are available and I know there are programs now that aren’t allowing for eviction and things like that so I know that there will be relief for many people in different ways. I would say not to try not to panic and just you know we’re all in this together. We’re all going to be financially impacted in some way and we’re all gonna work together to improve that. So I’m confident that some blessings will come out of this as well.

Julie: Absolutely and a couple days ago Joyce I talked live with someone here locally in Lansing Michigan who is coordinating, as soon as his event venue was shut down, he started coordinating with other restaurant owners to offer a delivery service and curbside pickup for all of those meals, all those leftover meals that were going to go to waste and so that’s just one example of a lot of programs going on right now. I know the United Way has teamed up with other nonprofits to serve as kind of a hub for a lot of resources. So for those who may be watching who are feeling that financial pressure just feeling those pressures, know that there’s help available there are resources and we’d be happy to connect you to some of those resources for sure.

Joyce: Absolutely and I think that’s one of the blessings of a challenge like this is even though it’s ironic because we’re being separated by this virus I think it’s actually creating a much larger sense of community and people coming together and being creative about new ways to connect and support one another so that’s a good thing about this. I am interested in financial health and actually the book that I’ve been working on is called mental wealth and it’s how to boost your mental health and your financial health because I’ve noticed as a therapist that financial health is something that comes up a lot in counseling sessions and a lot about how you manage your money is psychology and so there’s a huge correlation between self-esteem and your net worth so self-worth and net worth and your positive thinking and how that comes about and how you access support and how proactive you are in developing a vision. So you know if you’re concerned this could be a good time to put together a business plan or work on your website or work on your resume or do some research online for that company or that job that you might want to make a shift to. So there are blessings in the time that we’re being given as well.

Julie: Absolutely and I know everyone on our team is really looking forward to your book coming out next spring Joyce. So certainly I encourage our viewers to take a look at your website to follow you on social media and we’ll have more on that as that book launch date is announced. So very exciting there. Thank you so much and thank you for your help. Your team has done an amazing job with the illustrations they’re just beautiful. Well yeah I’m excited I have to give a shout out to Alexis who is on our team who’s been creating those graphics. So it’s gonna be a great book. The content is really what drives it, but we’re just excited to be a part of the opportunity and Joyce I also have to say that you know as we kind of wrap up here one you know you put out earlier this week a blog and I encourage everyone to go to your website Joyce-Marter.com, check out that blog about how to how to find your calm during this storm and we also created a bunch of graphics to go with this and these were based on your affirmations Joyce and in Joyce for those of you, you have to check out Joyce’s website. I’m totally biased, but if you like affirmations check out her website. She has a whole page full of them, but included in your affirmations choice one really stood out to me and it talks about giving yourself grace and I find that during this time that word grace really stands out to me. We need to give each other that grace, to give ourselves that grace. To me it’s that permission that it’s okay that things don’t feel okay right now. So thank you for those affirmations. Is there one affirmation or one concept that’s really standing out to you right now?

Joyce: Oh my gosh I often have a mantra that it was interesting to me and special to me yesterday that one of my clients who is experiencing a lot of anxiety. She and I had a session and then she texted me afterwards and she said thank you for letting me feel safe and loved and I thought oh my gosh isn’t that interesting because my own personal mantra is I am safe and loved. So whenever I feel anxious or worried I think we all need to remember that we all are and we’re all interconnected and that is through a state of grace and I do believe that you know through hardships there are blessings and that’s part of why I’m a therapist is because I love helping people work through their life challenges and hardships and there are so many blessings that come with that through wisdom and creativity and a whole different perspective so I’m confident that this whole experience is going to bring out some positive change for each of us as well.

Julie: Joyce there’s no better place to end than there. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Joyce: Thank you.

Julie: And I encourage everyone to go to joyce-marter.com. Find Joyce on Instagram and on Facebook. I believe the link we’ll put the link we’ll make sure the link is here so that you can follow her and then tune in. So tomorrow we have two more Facebook lives that we’re going to bring to you. Tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. Eastern John Mashni, who is an attorney at Foster Swift law firm, is going to talk with us about minimizing some of the legal impact and how businesses of all sizes can be communicating right now with their clients, with their customers. So John is going to be joining us live, he will answer your questions. That’s starting tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. and then Nora Luke who is a coach and founder from corporate to calling will be joining us tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 o’clock Eastern. So we have a full line of lineup of experts. We have more that we’re lining up for next week for you. So we look forward to having you join the conversation right here on Facebook. Thank you all for joining us and stay well