Counseling During The Pandemic

As an environmentalist and counselor living in New York, my advocating efforts cover what was best for nature: walking and biking. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic, which became a public health crisis and a helpful example in my life.

You see, there were already far too many people who owned cars in this concrete jungle. Cars actually hindered people from doing the cheapest kind of physical activity – walking. Needless to say, walking and biking are among the healthy ways to improve physical health, emotional health, and mental health.

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The taxis that littered the streets added to the traffic jams and it added to the anxiety in society as well. Thus, I began biking or walking from my apartment to the office. Amidst the current outbreak, these were also ways for me to cope, avoid depression and anxious thoughts, decrease stress, and keep my emotions at bay. I didn’t need any counselors back then and I didn’t have any contact with them. My mental health for me was optimal.

I would get up at six o’clock every morning, share a coffee with my husband, and get ready for work. We would have an engaging conversation usually, and I would fill him in on my activities for the day.

Around a quarter to seven o’clock, I would begin my 15-minute cycle to the environmental law agency that I created. Since I had been riding a bicycle my entire life, the wind might mess up my hairdo a little, but I would not even get winded. There was no depression, stress, anxiety, or fear that I might be struck by an illness.

When the pandemic occurred, I gave my employees a chance to work from home. It was safer that way for their families than letting them come to the office and encounter the disease. They just had remote access to the office work. I also let them decide when they were going back to the workplace. That way, they wouldn’t feel anxious or feel sad often, their concern for their loved ones will be lessened, and they would learn ways to tackle the public health crisis together. Some people agreed to do that, but others did not since they had too much work and they couldn’t handle work stress.

The pandemic was taking a toll on their mental health as well as their family life. Some had access to counselors so during their breaks they would call their counseling center for support. I thought the counseling center services really helped people and communities in coping.

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I was among those individuals who decided to continue providing services in the office despite the lockdown rules. I just set mindful ways of managing it amidst the pandemic challenges. My reason was that I owned the firm, and I knew the people who worked there – some were friends of mine, so my health most likely is safe from coronavirus transmission. I would wear an anti-coronavirus mask as I cycled to work every day, but I would take it off as soon as my bike stopped in front of the building. Prevention and disease control guidelines were not that concrete, although we were all following protocol.

Testing Positive For COVID-19

I thought nothing would go amiss after two months passed – we were coping pretty well – and I was still free from COVID-19. Most of my employees even returned to work as the lockdown in New York had been relaxed. There were no concerns of exposure to the illness or any mental health issues like anxiety. There was one instance of a person complaining of weird feelings but not really serious.

However, everyone became too comfortable in the office. The health and safety tips were forgotten until the local hospital services called to tell me that one of my employees tested positive following a swab test. Then the anxiety, anger, and worry started creeping in. We all worked in the same department, so they strongly suggested requesting a swab test and quarantine at home that week, with the possibility of transmission to others in the department. Everyone’s health was in line.

Without any surprise there, I also happened to be one of the people who got the COVID-19. I did not want to recognize it at first because I didn’t have symptoms initially. The worry came the next day when the symptoms slowly presented.

I woke up with my entire body aching – as if I worked out for more than eight hours the other day. I could not maintain a long breath and If I tried I ended up dry coughing. Sometime in the night, my temperature spiked for a few hours before going back down again. I was aware of my pains and I could not focus on one thing because of it. It was difficult to process. Indeed, even my mental health was affected.

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I endured all those COVID-19 symptoms for almost two weeks. It was a short period, but if you suffered them, two weeks honestly felt like a never-ending cruel cycle. I thought it was over when I did not get feverish anymore, but I dealt with shortness of breath and more dry coughing. The worry and anxiety were there all the time and I would often get a sense of fear for my health. I would seek support from friends. Most of them were also dealing with the same challenges and were aware of the health risks of COVID-19. They said they would seek support from community leaders and school counselors who had reliable sources as to how to maintain one’s mental health during the pandemic. They were my support system.

More on the Symptoms

Feeling The Aftereffects

When I called my doctor, she happily told me that I already survived the roughest stage of COVID-19 infection. “The shortness of breath is normal. You may experience it for up to three months, but you should be fine if you take it easy. If anxiety or any other mental health issues comes up, try listening to music for relaxation. Or you can always contact your counselors if you want some helpful advice.

Coping with COVID-19 did not scare me that easily, but I broke down right there because it took my endurance away.


Counseling After The Virus

Counseling Help

Counseling amid pandemic. My employees helped me get back on my feet and walk to my private office to calm down. Soon enough, our resident from the counseling center arrived, and I told her about the onslaught of fear I experienced as I realized that I could not do my favorite activity anymore due to COVID-19.

The counseling expert explained that my recent infection would affect my walking and biking habits since COVID-19 pushed my heart and lungs to work hard. I did not notice how much they had been working in the past, but I did now since COVID-19 weakened my lungs. Counseling did wonders in my coping and recovery. “With more patience and training, there’s no doubt that you can feel 100% again,” the counseling expert said.

My counseling journey wasn’t easy. I understood what the COVID-19 counselor meant, but it took me some time to accept it. My COVID-19 counselor was right – I merely had to be patient enough to strengthen my body. A couple of months passed, and I could go walking and biking without needing to catch my breath again.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How can one cope with the mental and physical effects of COVID-19?
  2. Does COVID-19 have long-term mental complications?
  3. What are some common ways to prevent COVID-19?
  4. Is there a nutritional guide to follow when you have the disease?
  5. Can physical and mental exercises help improve COVID-19 side effects?


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