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Kim Egel, LMFT    

Kim Egel, LMFT

BY MEADOWLARK MONAGHAN

On Friday, we welcomed Kim Egel, licensed therapist and Madhappy friend, to answer all our questions on navigating this new reality!  

Kim started by reiterating that therapy doesn’t have to be so serious - you can always talk to someone no matter how “big” or “small” what you are going through is. Similarly, however you are feeling about the world right now - is right. You’re not “supposed” to feel a certain way. We all have to honor how we are feeling and move through it together. 

Kim chatted about uncertainty, fear, and hope before getting into a little Q&A. 

UNCERTAINTY 

We are in a huge ball of uncertainty right now but luckily, we can shift our perspective on uncertainty. We each have a different relationship with change or uncertainty in general. During this extreme, we may see our typical tendencies coming out a bit stronger or more pronounced. However, if we can reframe our thoughts and accept how we are feeling, we can learn to deal with uncertainty with a bit more ease. Plus, it’s not that uncertainty is such a bad thing - a lot of cool things come when things are uncertain, like surprises and coincidences!

FEAR 

When we are leading with fear, we can freeze, because that’s a typical fear response. 

When we react with fear, there can be a cut off. It can kill our hope and spirit, making it easy to get doubtful of ourselves. 

Our stories or narrative of how we feel is not necessarily the truth; so, when we get caught up in fear, we get caught up in the worst case scenario about what can happen. When you anchor yourself in what's actually happening right now, it can help you to focus less on your story and more on actuality. In this way, we can navigate through our fears with a more calm, level-headed approach.  

HOPE 

Hope doesn’t have to be so nonrealistic. We can’t necessarily control what's happening, but we can control how we are responding and how we react to it. 

Q&A

SHOULD YOU CHANCE GOING OUT TO GET FOOD OR MEDICATION IF YOU ARE EXTREMELY SCARED?

Try doing things to bring your fear down from a 10  before you go out so that you are ready to not be panicked. Talk to a friend and calm down your fear, ground yourself, to then do the thing or task at hand. Food and medication are things you need to keep you healthy. So, unless a buddy can come with or go get it for you, bringing your fear level down before you go out, could possibly really help you. 

TIPS FOR FALLING ASLEEP?

It can be difficult getting to sleep when we are wrapped up in worry and anxiety. It may be helpful for some people to write down everything you are worried about. Having a clear place to put your thoughts can get it all out before sleeping, helping to quiet down our racing mind before bed. That plus, managing our caffeine.

FAVORITE MEDITATIONS?

Meditations are so individualistic! There are lots of options out there like Headspace, Insight Timer, and Deepak Chopra & Oprah’s current meditation on the concept of hope and uncertainty. Kim suggests you play around with what works for you! Guided? Just music? Do some experimentation and find what feels best. Game Changers is a book Kim read recently about common habits among successful people around the world and meditation was one of them! Meditation always. And yes, especially when anxiety and fear is high. 

HOW CAN WE MANAGE PESSIMISTIC THOUGHTS?

If you are thinking this way now, maybe you tend to have a pessimistic nature, and it may just be louder right now. This is a cool opportunity to start noticing it because it is so loud, you have an opportunity to get it in check. Break the thought pattern by paying attention to what those thoughts are saying and when they are happening. Noticing your inner tape. An exercise you can try is folding a piece of paper in half; on one side of the paper, write down what you hear the voice saying and on the other side, in a clearer headspace, counter that thought so you can start teaching yourself another thing you could tell yourself instead. 

HOW DO YOU STOP YOURSELF FROM FEELING LIKE YOU ARE PROCRASTINATING OR NOT DOING ENOUGH DURING THIS TIME?

It’s a hard time because everything is closed down so personally Kim is using it to stop that inner voice that's always making her feel like “go go go”: go surf or go do this and go do that. In a way, Kim is playing around this time to just slow down. Otherwise, that inner voice that can get really loud. A daily routine can be really helpful as well. A little bit of a routine that keeps you healthy. 

ARE THERE ANY GOOD THINGS THAT CAN COME FROM THIS?

Slowing down is not a negative! Less is more. Simplicity. Take this time to be honest and notice if your days were filled with things benefitting you or were you just in the habit of doing them? Were they serving you or distracting you? Prioritize what's important to you and take these lessons with you when this is all over. 

WHAT IS KIM OPTIMISTIC ABOUT AT THE MOMENT?

Liking leisure time more! And taking the slow down concept into her regular routine when this does pass, because it will. 

HOW DO YOU FIND A THERAPIST THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

She did a whole post about it! Couple tips - 1) usually all therapists have free phone consultations so you can always talk for 10 min or ask some questions prior to calling that are important to you so you’ll get a sense of that person. If they were easy to talk to, if they made you feel comfortable, if they had cool perspectives - look for all these things 2) Psychology Today and Good Therapy are both creditentaled therapy sites to help find a therapist in your area. 

HOW CAN SOMEONE GET PAST THE BAD HABITS THAT FORM WHEN THEY ARE STUCK IN THE HOUSE? I.E. SNACKING, LAZINESS, TV BINGING INSTEAD OF DOING SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE, ETC.

Notice what are good habits that you have or like to do to make you feel more productive? Pop on a work out video or make a Pinterest board of something you are interested in. This is a cool thing for you to figure out during this time. Plus, Kim says get some Vitamin D! It’s not healthy to be inside all day. Get outside and get the juices flowing. 

DO YOU THINK WHAT IS HAPPENING IS A SIGN FOR US TO SLOW DOWN AND TAKE TIME FOR OURSELVES?

How you interpret things that happen to you dictate the quality of your life. How can you learn from this or what can you do about this? No one has ever come to Kim and been upset because they went too slow. Taking time to be more reflective or introspective is time well spent. 

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TAKE CARE OF OTHERS? I FEEL LIKE REACHING OUT ISN'T ENOUGH.

Reaching out is enough. We are limited with how we can connect so utilizing those ways we can and allowing someone to know you thought about them and love them and are checking in, that is enough. Value yourself for reaching out and checking in. You are doing so much by doing that! Businesses are doing little things as well - “thinking of you” jewelry pieces and little things like that are cool to send to friends as well. But, simply reaching out is a beautiful way to support people.  

Connect with Kim on her site and Instagram.