Get Ready, Forage, Make Soup, Do Nothing

Editor’s Note: We asked the COVID Support VT Counselors for their best self-care tips for coping with Covid. Here’s what Alex Karambelas said. Alex answers the “warmline” (2-1-1, option #2) and facilitates virtual workshops for COVID Support VT. Join her Covid Recovery Workshop on Managing Re-Entry Anxiety here.

This is part three in a series. See self-care tips from Support Counselor Nate Reit here, and from Support Counselor Cecilia Hayes here.

Counselor Alex’s Advice for Coping with Covid 

Get ready in the morning

My most-used self-care tip is to fully get ready as many mornings as I can. What that means varies from person to person, of course. Perhaps you would benefit from waking up and taking a shower or digging out your favorite shirt. Maybe combing your hair is what you do to feel your best. Given the isolation that many are experiencing, it’s easy to feel unmotivated to take care of ourselves – particularly if you’re unemployed, work from home, or are grappling with feelings of depression, anxiety, numbness, or apathy. Sometimes self-love is as simple as remembering to brush your teeth every day. 

Making a plan to do one nice thing each morning to feel your best can have positive effects on your mood, confidence and well-being for the rest of your day.

Alex Karambelas, COVID Support VT Counselor

Forage or look for plants

My all-time favorite springtime activity in Vermont is foraging or identifying plants. If you’re looking for a way to get in touch with your senses while also getting outside, give this a try. There are some great resources such as the Stowe Forager or this tree-identification guide from Vermont Land Trust that can help you pick a few things to look for on your walk. Be aware that many foraging gems can be hard to discern from their toxic relatives that may be dangerous to consume, most notably wild mushrooms. It may be best to stick to flowers or fiddleheads, or to try simply identifying different trees. No matter if you’re (legally) gathering or merely admiring the plant life around you, it will cause you to look at your surroundings more deeply, and get in touch with nature.

Make a soup

On those last chilly days of the spring here in Vermont, I have been diving into one of my favorite coping strategies: making soup. There are many reasons why I love this therapeutic act so much. For starters, it’s a great way to use up whatever leftover groceries you may have. Extra rice, beans, or potatoes lying around? Throw it in! It’s a way to get in touch with your creativity, and to carve out a chunk of time solely for your senses. It can also be an activity to connect with family and loved ones. Certain soups such as chili also keep very well if you seal up any leftovers and pop them in your freezer. Overall, it’s a great way to relax, get some food going, and enjoy the aroma filling your kitchen with goodness.

Set aside time to do nothing

There’s power in developing a personal do-nothing ritual each day. Maybe you’re a morning person and like to sit and have a cup of tea or coffee as the birds come out. Or maybe you treasure that moment at the end of the day when your kids are finally in bed. Pick a time when your life is less hectic, and then…do nothing.

Create a space of mental sanctuary. 

Alex Karambelas, COVID Support VT Counselor

Even if just for just a few minutes, that moment of stillness can do wonders for your mental health. If you live with lots of people, maybe there’s a room or corner where you can claim space for a time, or a place outside that you feel comfortable going into. The important thing is to set aside time – any amount of time – to do nothing. I personally recommend avoiding social media altogether during this moment. Try incorporating this wellness meditation, or listening to your favorite music for some added calm.


Read Alex’s Guest Blog on Managing Re-Entry Anxiety.

Need to talk? 

Call 2-1-1 (option #2) or 866-652-4636 (option #2) for free, confidential, one-on-one counseling. Our Support Counselors are available Monday – Friday. 

In crisis? 

If you or someone you care for is experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, you can: call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-825;  text VT to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor 24/7; connect with your local community mental health agency for 24/7 support. 

Find help for coping

Find resources and tools for coping with stress at Follow COVID Support VT on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. And, to stay up-to-date, sign up for our newsletter and blog.

Learn about upcoming Wellness Workshops from COVID Support VT, and Town Halls we’re hosting in partnership with community organizations.

One-click translation to 100 languages of most everything on the website, plus Multilingual Resources & downloadable materials in 10 languages common to Vermont’s New American immigrant and refugee communities. 

COVID Support VT is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency, managed by Vermont’s Departments of Emergency Management and Mental Health, and administered by Vermont Care Partners, a statewide network of 16 non-profit community-based agencies providing mental health, substance use, and intellectual and developmental disability services and supports. 

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