Connection Tips (Part 2+) (COVID-19 Update #14)

So much to tell you…
It has been a while since I sent this COVID-Season email.  I was trying to take some extra time for myself this summer.  I finished my Shutterfly Pandemic album documenting all we did as a family.  I mastered my Pandemic Path to a Pullup… and then stopped maintaining it.  I tried to fully participate in June, July and August without future-tripping.  And here I am in October.  I can’t help but think about you as I think about this Fall… this election… this winter…
So, for that reason, I am sending you some helpful information and some very important reminders about why I trust you can survive until 2021.

Are you scared about being single as the winter months hit?  That the dating scene that let you meet someone for a walk, an outdoor coffee or a picnic is not going to be possible?  This site seems helpful, and if nothing else, something different:  Also the magazine The Week published the 4 top dating sites that people use during the Pandemic and I was interested because I had not seen 2 of them before (Match, Bumble, XO and Tastebuds).  I have been helping clients with their profiles: Market yourself not to get more swipes, but to get swipes you are excited about.  Additionally, I know some of you have had fun on other sites not listed.  However the best stories are happening within 2 or 3 degrees of your friends.  A common acquaintance or environment already sets the tone for safety, and who wouldn’t appreciate that feeling lately?  Another question I have been asking people who seem to be working a little too hard to make something out of not-much is this:  Is your potential partner allowing you to feel like he/she/they bring out a version of your best self?  Maybe not every minute, but you get the gist.

And if it’s not a romantic love connection you are seeking, check this out:  I can’t wait until I know someone who has done this so I can tell you even more.

Regardless of whether you plant your feet on the left or right, November is going to be full of emotions, and as a therapist, I am gearing up for your big emotions.  For those that want to get out there, you can sign up here to be a Cook County election judge  For those that want to volunteer from the safety of their homes, I can help brainstorm ideas from letter writing to phone calls to donations and for those that want to do nothing more than vote, then I encourage you to prioritize that right in November.

No surprise but google told me that searches for “anxiety attack” reached an all time high during the past few months.Does this happen to you?  I have my 3 (so far) fool-proof strategies to tell you right now that can regulate you right in the moment.  If you want to prevent this attack from happening again, invest in therapy to find out WHY you are getting escalated (this is one of my favorite parts of clinical therapy:  The Why).  Nobody should have to live with these debilitating attacks! Three strategies done together:  Regulate your breathing (deep breaths, or go for a walk.  You can’t walk and panic at the same time); Roll your shoulders back and down (when your muscles are tight, your breathing tends to come from your upper chest, not your deeper relaxed breathing); Tell yourself you are OK, safe, healthy, and that this will pass (if you don’t believe it, that is OK.  Start with the words, outloud, that you are OK).  Additionally the Tribune just told us (again) that people who exercise are more psychologically resilient.

Have you heard of COVID-COACH?  Check out this app!  I spent about 10 min exploring it and it consolidates so many of the other apps I suggest to clients into this one free user friendly app to take care of… yourself .

BUT…Are you feeling similarly to me that if you see one more suggestion about self-care, you will scream?  I told someone the other day that self-care is so 2019 and it is connections-care, community-care, relationship-care that is going to power us into 2021.  To that end, I have spent the past couple months collecting suggestions.  If you want to read them and maybe even find a couple that speak to you, click here, and if you wish you had them sooner, make sure to subscribe to my website so you don’t miss these updates (  

And please, look at your phone, look at your screentime, and make a commitment to decrease it by X amount.  A sure-fire way to do this is to promise yourself you won’t look at your phone until you have been awake for 30 minutes in the morning (it helps set the tone for the day as well, and maybe even positively affects your metabolism to give your brain natural ways to awaken– (google it!)).  

Guys… it is not over.  This grief, this PTSD, this trauma, this sadness, this “what now”, this anxiety.  I know that.  I also trust that together, we will survive, and when you doubt that, you will ask for what you need to replenish your reserves.  I can help you figure out how to do that when you forget.


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Lynn Zakeri

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