Hi Casey! Thank you so much for asking this valuable question. It is really good to hear that you are planning to improve your self care skills and build upon your intrinsic motivation. I can tell that you are preparing to make changes in your life based on your willingness to set goals for yourself. It seems like you are ready to begin the process of establishing a healthy self care routine. What would you say are your primary self care skills at this time? What are some of the first things that come to your mind?
First and foremost, I want to let you know that I am truly sorry for your loss. I am sending my heartfelt condolences to you. When your dad passed away, how did you cope with the feelings that you had experienced at the time? I suspect that this loss must have been a truly challenging time for you and your family. I can only imagine what you must be going through. How are you feeling about things now? I hope that you are doing what you can to take care of yourself at this time.
In your question, you mentioned that you have been having sudden changes in your overall mood, fogginess, tearfulness and feelings of being isolated. Also, you stated that you have been having trouble with sleeping and weight gain. Thank you for providing the details of your specific symptom presentation. How have you been managing these symptoms thus far? Are these symptoms impacting your ability to function in your environment, in your occupation or socially? I realize that this must have been an extremely difficult situation to deal with. Did these symptoms first arise in January, after your father passed, or had you experienced some of these things before?
It appears that you are feeling like this is the best time for you to begin to make some changes. It sounds like you are ready to begin coping with the loss as well as overcome the feelings of sadness and isolation. I completely agree with your intention to allow your dad to rest peacefully. It is a really good goal to learn to manage the worried feeling that you have been having about your mental health. How often do you find yourself feeling worried? What have you been doing to address your concerns and worries? Are you feeling more worried on some days than others? What sort of things trigger your worry? What are some of the warning signs of worry?
Based on what you wrote in your question, it sounds like you have come up with an action plan to further develop your self care skills in response to the loss. That sounds like a really awesome idea. Perhaps you are wondering where the best place could be to start. What steps have you made so far in identifying your strategies for self care? From my perspective, it may be beneficial for you to make a list of your hobbies, talents and interests. In my experience, it is a good idea for people to develop self care techniques based on activities that are of interest for the individual. I would like to encourage you to utilize your strengths and create a personalized self care routine that best suites your interests and assessed needs.
In addition, it might be beneficial for you to look at some resources available online in order to make a list of self care skills. It is a good plan to establish a long list of self care skills in order to have many options to choose from in any given moment.
I can share with you two different web links of ideas for coping skills and grounding exercises, all of which can be incorporated into your self care routine.
At this time, I would like to encourage you to attend individual counseling sessions on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Through individualized therapy appointments, you will likely gain some perspective as well as additional insight into your current experiences. In addition to one on one appointments, it seems like you could greatly benefit from attending group therapy or one of the groupinars on BetterHelp. It would be really great if you could interact with other individuals who may also be going through similar experiences.
An area of focus for therapy could be on the topic of the grieving process. Identify where you are at in the stages of grief. This might give you some insight into how to manage your experience. It is completely up to you what you decide to pursue in order to heal from this experience. My hope for you is that, in the right time, you will begin to feel better about yourself and your situation.
As an aspiring art therapist, I always recommend creating art work as fuel for healing. I would like to encourage you to draw a picture within a circle of your worries. Perhaps you can create a word splash of your triggers and draw a spontaneous scribble over the words. Maybe you can make a collage that depicts your relationship with your dad in a positive way. Gather some art supplies, such as colored pencils, markers and watercolor paints and draw a tree. If you draw a story, write a poem or create a mobile or a diorama, this may be useful for you in some way. It is true that emotional expression can be utilized as a driving energy force through drawing, coloring, sculpting and painting. Take some time to make art and you can turn this process into a powerful self care skill over time.
Thank you again for your time in asking a question on the BetterHelp platform. I want to wish you all the best in your therapeutic journey! I hope that my response was helpful for you in some way. Have a wonderful day!