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Courtney Knowles    

Courtney Knowles

BY MEADOWLARK MONAGHAN

Last Wednesday, we kicked off our Thinking of You livestream series with a session on Staying Kind, Calm, Active & Connected with the JED Foundation. JED & Madhappy have a relationship for a while now so we were so happy to have Courtney Knowles from The JED Foundation kicking off the first Thinking of You livestream. Courtney specifically works in a program within the JED Foundation called Love is Louder

The JED Foundation focuses on mental health and preventing bad things that happen when we don’t take care of ourselves, ranging from substance use to suicide. Love is Louder is a ten year old JED program specifically focused on using technology to make us more connected and supported, and finding ways to inspire us to take actions to improve our emotional health. Digital technology and communication can be the only way we can truly feel connected right now so this is relevant now more than ever!

Overarching theme that JED and Madhappy agree on is how we are doing good by staying inside. By doing so, we are keeping ourselves, and equally importantly, others well. Love is Louder emphasizes STAYING IN and STAYING SAFE.

And to make a commitment everyday that while you’re staying in and staying safe, you do something to stay calm, something to stay active, something to stay kind, and something to stay connected

The following are tips within each of those four categories to reframe how we are quarantining. To learn more, visit Love is Louder or connect with them on Instagram and Twitter

STAY CALM

  • Differentiate things we do have control over and things that we don’t
  • Good stress vs. bad stress - as much as stress never feels good, sometimes it does keep us on track and inspire and motivate us to do the things we need to do. Madhappy has talked about this before too!
  • Stressed about money - that’s natural. You can cut back on spending, finding ways to make your job work from home, refer to places you can file to assistance and other options on loveislounder.com
  • A lot of things we can’t control: we don’t know what things will be like in four or six weeks, or how we’ll get back on the road to financial stability and job stability. 
  • It’s an art learning to stress enough to do what you need to do, while also sitting with that uncertainty 
  • We are not alone! Whatever you are going through right now, there are a lot of other people in your same situation. A lot of different things are happening in real time meant to help us.

    Whatever it is that is stressing you out, or that you are most afraid of, you are not by any means the only one going through that.

    There are collective solutions being worked on. So try to differentiate what you can do something about and things that you can’t. 

  • Mindful exercises, walking in a safe way, distracting with hobbies or things you like to do to help not get caught up in a cycle of worry over things that you can’t do anything about right now
  • Crisis Text Line and National Lifeline have people 24/7 to reach out to at any time about any anxiety, worry, or overwhelming feelings. There are resources to help you. 
  • Love is Louder campaign “Press Pause” reminds us that it’s so easy to be reactive right now. The art of sitting when you start to feel overwhelmed/anxious/panicked - one of the best things you can do is: nothing. Take a minute to step back, do a really simple breathing exercise, listen to a song, mindful coloring - do something to let that initial overwhelming physical response fade to catch your breath and get back control of the situation before you make that decision 

STAY ACTIVE

  • We have a lot more to do than just sit on the couch despite a certain meme going around!
  • By anyones account or estimate, most of our medical resources may need to be dedicated to those who are at higher risk. When we are not active or sleeping or eating well, if we’re partying too much, we wear down our body. And it’s very critical right now that we stay well so we can leave these resources available for those who need it the most.  
  • And our mental health has such a huge impact on our immune system! 
  • Netflix and binge can be really fun, but Courtney encourages everyone to try to stick to a routine 
  • Anything you can do to maintain your physical health and mental health is so critical. 
  • Video meditation and breathing, live streams with yoga classes, etc. incorporate into your day 
  • Most cities are not preventing you from going outside and walking around if you’re doing that safely, but Courtney emphasizes how important it is to get that Vitamin D and walk a bit, while keeping that physical distance. 

STAY KIND

  • Be honest about what you need and what's triggering you
  • If you need alone time, take it
  • Do what you need to do to avoid that because it's important to the bigger picture for us to stay healthy 
  • Staying in and practicing physical distancing is, in itself, a form of kindness.
  • It feels good to offer to help others as well! 

STAY CONNECTED 

  • Just because we’re distancing ourselves physically, doesn’t mean we’re alone or disconnected
  • Schedule facetime dates with friends! 
  • Make an extra effort to reach out to people who may be physical distancing on their own or aren’t able to get out.
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself for more time on social media, because that can help us to feel connected right now. But if it’s not making you feel that way, spring clean! Unfollow accounts that don’t lift you up or make you feel more connected. 
  • Love is Louder even shared guidelines for throwing a virtual dinner party!