Embracing Change: Tips for Self-Care During a Crisis


Estimated watch time: 29 mins

Available credits: none

Objectives and Summary:

In this community education webinar, coaching and interventions expert Amanda Marino, CLC, CRC, discusses the struggles and silver linings of living through the COVID-19 pandemic. Take this time of crisis to be gentle, utilize your time wisely and get on track with your health.

After watching her presentation, the viewer will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of being gentle to oneself
  • Utilize this time to learn a skill, do a project and/or spend quality time with loved ones
  • Take time to ground themselves and to support their health and wellness.

Presentation Materials:


Welcome to the Community Education Series hosted by The Recovery Village and Advanced Recovery Systems.

It’s been a journey trying to figure out how to adjust and modify our lives right now to being home, working from home, juggling kids, and the process of not homeschooling, let’s call it what it is: it’s crisis schooling. I really appreciate the opportunity to hop on an event like this and share some of the things that are helping me get through and embrace this change, and I really appreciate Advanced Recovery Systems for doing this during this time and helping people to embrace change. Let’s be honest, there’s nothing we can do about it. We have to live one moment at a time and one day at a time right now and embrace the change the best we can. Sometimes it looks ugly and sometimes it can be graceful.

I am a co-founder in a program called Next Level Recovery Associates. We offer interventions, substance abuse interventions, life coaching, recovery, coaching, family coaching, sober companions, sober transport, and also some employer consulting for treatment programs. So I’ve worked in the behavioral health industry for 10 years, and I love what I do. I love it and now I’m getting to really work hands-on with families.

I did an almost all-day intervention yesterday, so that was really grueling. So today, some of these self-care pieces that I talk about, I have to apply to myself because I felt a little scattered this morning because I’m off my schedule of going to bed at a certain time and waking up at a certain time. It was just all off yesterday, and all that energy you take on in the work that we do.

So, first slide, let’s see. Remember that this isn’t happening to you, but in fact, this is happening to all of us, it’s so easy for us to go into victim mode. I am definitely one of those people that if I’m in a funky place, I will allow that spiral to start and believe that this is happening to me. This isn’t happening to me, this has happened to the entire world and I’ve had specific things go on. I had a trip planned to Africa. I was going to speak for a women’s global summit there. That opportunity right now has been postponed. That’s okay.

I have friends that have lost their parents. I’ve had friends that, due to this thing, I actually had goosebumps when I said that. I’ve known people that have had to either postpone or cancel their weddings and so there’s everybody right now, whether it’s insignificant to me or not, whether it’s smaller, larger; we’re all in this together.

It’s about supporting one another and reaching out to our peers. And if somebody is having a hard time with just teaching their kids that day, which I’m telling you right now, it has been a challenge in this to keep up. I have a seven year-old and a 14-year-old. The 14-year-old couldn’t be happier to be homeschooled. He’s done by noon and he rides his bike, so he’s happy, but the little one, she needs constant entertainment.

So being gentle to myself, being gentle to others, reaching out for support and knowing that I’m not alone in this thing and that using that time and space to unify and strengthen the bonds and the relationships with people I’m close to and even reaching outside of my normal. Because the opportunity now that we’re tapping into this virtual world is there. I work with my clients a lot on Zoom already, but this has given me an opportunity to utilize this virtual space and time and to really embrace it.

So being gentle with ourselves. I touched on that a little bit. I was talking about it: remember this is happening to all of us and not to you. Being gentle with ourselves is just that. I want to be productive during this time, and I am somebody who is an overdoer, so for me, being gentle with myself during this time is allowing myself to just chill. I saw somebody put a meme up of, “You don’t have to be super mom in the pandemic, you don’t have to be superwoman.” You don’t, and I don’t, and I have to constantly remind myself of that.

So it’s okay to be productive one day. It’s okay to not the next day. It’s okay to stay in pajamas one day and it’s okay to really just be gentle with yourself and not be hard with yourself. If you have a hard day or a hard week, embrace that. It’s just really easy for us to be really hard on ourselves. I come from personal experience with that and a lot of the work that I do with my clients during this time, I wanted to do this. We wanted to take on certain projects, and I’m eating terribly, I’m not sleeping, so be gentle with yourself. This is not anything that we could be prepared for.

Taking downtime when you need it. I’m taking one day a week, usually Sunday. Exercise is my form of a healthy outlet, so I’m taking Sundays to not exercise. If I do anything it’s just gentle stretching, staying in my pajamas, taking a nap if I need, really shutting off the world to the best of my ability as long as people aren’t in crisis. So taking that downtime when I need it and whatever I get done is okay. This, like we mentioned before, this is just a rare, rare time for us right now, and to not have expectations on myself and to not have expectations on loved ones and our peers.

I know for the little ones, it’s like, “Well, just do your schoolwork, it’s right there.” You don’t have to have an expectation on them to act anything but out of the ordinary and have meltdowns. I think that we have to embrace that too.

So this is something that I’ve talked about for many years. Actually, Heather Ann has had a beautiful sacred space in her house for a long time, which was called her angel room and I have longed for something like that for a long time. And this COVID time and quarantine time has given me the opportunity to create that sacred space for myself.

I’ve created this home office. Usually, when I work at home, nobody’s here, so I’m able to work in a much more open area. I’ve had to get creative because with a house full of people, I can’t sit in the living room and work on a Zoom call.

So, I’ve created a nice little space for my workspace, and then I’ve created a nice little space for my meditation, my yoga. I have a yoga mat in my bedroom, I keep an oil diffuser with lavender oil, I have one of the roll-on oils that’s lavender and vanilla I keep in my room. I have an energy clearing kind of incense. It’s not sage, it’s like a Copel Copel incense; I love the smell of it. Just something that smells good, some nice candles.

I have meditation apps that I love to use. There’s the insight timer, there’s Calm, there’s YouTube, which has so many options. And I have the Peloton bikes, so there’s also the options for meditation and yoga on there, the classes that stream to the TV. I know that right now, I think that some of those are offering complimentary access during this time.

So: creating that safe space in your house, mine is my bedroom. I’ve got lots of pillows, lots of comfort, all those yummy smells and that safe space.

Going for a walk: I know my neighborhood like the back of my hand. I know who lives where, what kind of car they drive and whose yard I like the best. And honestly, I’ve lived in my house for four years and I would go running and things like that, but I’ve walked this neighborhood a lot and it has been really, really great. It helps me get out that nervous energy.

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m someone that moves a muscle and it releases the stress for me. So even if I’ve worked out, I still go take my daughter, I’ll either go walk with her while she’s on her scooter or I’ll finish with her, do dinner and bed and go out alone cause the nights have been really beautiful lately, at least here in Florida. It’s been a great temperature to walk outside at night. It’s a great time to connect with nature, even though we can’t go to parks or beaches. We can still go outside and enjoy some fresh air.

Some noise-canceling headphones: we can either have noise canceling headphones or ones with some relaxing music to be able to have quiet time and space in our home. I know, I feel like in moments I can’t go anywhere. There’s nowhere to run and I’m someone who generally travels and I’m often on the go. When I feel like there’s nowhere to run to in my own home, I need to be able to create that space within it.

So, whether I have to cancel out noise with headphones or go for a walk or use my relaxation tools in my bedroom, I will. Sometimes I’ll let my daughter do yoga with me and we have that quality time together.

Also, baths are a great quiet space, floating in water. I miss being able to go in the pool and the ocean and I connect deeply to being in water, so taking a nice, relaxing bath is great. I also really enjoy lavender.

We talked about being gentle with yourself. We talked about ways to create a sacred space in your home and in your bedroom and your life, outside, inside, things that we can do, but we can also utilize this time while being gentle with ourselves and not being like a drill sergeant on ourselves to pick up a new skill.

I’ve wanted to finish certain credentials that I’ve been working on and it’s like I would do a little bit now and I’ll put it off and do a little bit, but this is really a time where I can get that stuff done, because the time that I would be driving kids to and from, or I would be traveling and then trying to catch up on energy is really time that I can focus.

So I have dedicated some time to working on those things that I wanted to complete. Picking up a project around the house like, “that’s something I wanted to reorganize.” I talked about this pantry like ten times, but I wanted to reorganize my pantry for probably a year, and I knew what kind of containers I wanted to order and everything.

Finally, I ordered these containers and I organized this pantry, the sterilite containers, the big white ones off of Amazon, and they’re fantastic; they’re large. When I open up this pantry that I think my family goes in a hundred times a day, I open it and it looks organized. When I feel organized in my home, I feel organized in my mind, and it makes me just feel good when I open it up. Being able to do little projects like that, where I had good intentions; e all live such busy lives nowadays, that we’re not able to do things like that.

I’ve taken the time to work on my certifications, to find projects around the house. Do something you’ve always wanted to do. There’s really cool websites. There’s a bunch of things. So if there’s something that interests you, maybe a language or photography or something that you’ve always wanted to do or work towards, something to kind of dissect your goals. This is also a great opportunity to do that. Journaling, getting some clarity, writing, and earning new certifications. This is also, like I had mentioned that for me, finishing up some of the things that I’ve been working on is great. But I also use this opportunity as a time to pick up a new one.

In my downtime I’m being kind to myself, and then the other times I’m using my time wisely, because this is extra time that we have on our plates. Especially our little ones inside want to play and want to be creative and miss our freedom and our space.

It can be being creative with ourselves, with our cooking. My husband and I have been cooking all kinds of food. We’ve been going through the food market, getting really good, fresh fish and cooking, baking, and doing fun things like that. Do that either alone or do that with the family, creating memories and spending this bonding time together.

I had mentioned being a traveling mom. I would sometimes feel guilty when I would leave home. So I would do extra when I leave and extra when I would come back, but now, being present and being grounded in the moment, I’m able to enjoy and create memories with my family like no other time. So that’s definitely a positive thing.

Do something fun and outside the box. My daughter has me doing all kinds of stuff over this house. We have forts, we have different adventures we’re going on, which is really tapping into our creativity, painting, coloring.

We have a poster that we make a theme for the week. The first week was fun things that we can do while we’re in our home and we can’t go anywhere and be with our friends. So we came up with a collage of all the fun things that we could do to kind of identify. And then we just go with the flow. We let our creative minds come painting, coloring, finding ways for you and you and your family to express yourself in healthy and creative ways.

Like I mentioned, this is a time that we’re, if you’re like me, you’re feeling closed in and feeling trapped, so having your creativity come out, whether it’s dancing, painting, journaling, creating content is great. If you’re working on marketing and branding yourself, it’s a really good time to take that time to do those things, get creative, let your creative juices flow that usually are put on the back burner because we’re always go, go, go.

Eating healthy. Okay, so eating can be the easiest thing to stuff our emotions or to make us feel better, and I’m speaking with that from personal experience. I’m a sober woman in recovery for 13 years, so I don’t have the way society has become of like, “Oh, we have a mommy glass of wine at the end of the day to relax,” or if you’re feeling uncomfortable, like, some people take a pill if they feel anxious.

So, for me it’s been sugar. Sugar is always the easiest thing if I’m feeling tired or anxious, and I’ve identified that in myself over the years. So again, with being gentle with myself, like if I want to have something, some cake or I want to have something that isn’t like 100% healthy, that’s fine too, but finding myself, not stuffing and overeating, right now, is, is a good place for me to keep my mental state.

And I had already been on a tear from traveling so much to where I’d hop on a plane and I would think I was on vacation, but I was really working. So for me, I’m utilizing this time along with my creativity to cook healthy meals. It really encompasses everything. So by cooking healthy meals, we’re being creative, we’re spending time with the family, we’re keeping our health on track, because if we’re just putting sugary foods into our system, that’s going to heighten anxiety and really cause a lot more issues than it does help. It’s like one of those short-term fixes. So planning ahead to eat and to cook healthy meals.

So, with right now, it’s a really optimal time to plan ahead because going to the grocery store is like mission impossible. You got to go in with your mask on, you gotta make sure you get everything that you need because you really don’t want to go multiple times. So planning ahead right now is really in our favor.

So we can say, okay this is what we’re going to eat, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday; kind of have the dinners planned, have healthy snacks on hand. And for us, the sweets at home, like, I know if there’s the Easter candy or we get the kids cookies or ice cream, that it’s just tempting for my husband and I late at night to indulge.

I’m using Pinterest. That’s a fun time to tap. That’s a fun thing to do. Like if you’re like, alright, I’m so bored with everything that I’ve been cooking, and I cook the same thing all the time, find something fun. And sometimes there’s such simple, quick things on Pinterest that you are like, “Oh God, I love this,” and then you’ll be drawn to think outside your box with your meals, and it’s, it’s true: healthy mind, healthy food.

My undergrad is in alternative medicine, so I learned so much personally and in my studies about how healthy food really just affects so many things of our mind, body, and spirit. So, while we can be gentle with ourselves if we feel like eating junk too, but just making sure we’re getting a healthy balance of protein, vegetables, healthy carbohydrates, definitely will help the mind.

Move your body. Okay that’s definitely a constant for me. Walking, working out. I noticed the days while I’m being gentle with myself, the days that I’m not working out are the days that I feel like I’m carrying everything a little heavier. I’m trying to take a little bit of time for myself in the morning, practicing that self-care piece: to do a workout, to spend time with just me, my son, my daughter, my husband, everyone tries to come out and talk to me and I ask them to please just honor that 45 minutes for me in the garage, that’s my stress reliever.

I know a lot of people have reached out to me, friends that know that I love fitness, that I can be a psycho with this sometimes. They have reached out to me and said, listen, I want to do something to work out, I just don’t know what to do. And not everyone knows how to put together a workout and that’s totally okay. So, working out can be from going for that nice walk to doing a little stretch in your bedroom to doing a full bootcamp. So it’s really whatever, wherever you are and there’s no judgment on that, there’s no right and wrong movement of body and working out.

We’re all in different places that are our preference with what we can do with our body. So it’s really about embracing where we are. There’s a number of resources online that are offering free workout classes. First of all, YouTube has a number of workout classes; you can Google pretty much anything and find something.

Like if you want to work on strengthening your glutes, you’ve got to type it in “glute workout video” and boom, there pops up so many options and they show you step by step how to do them. Right now, beach body is offering a free three weeks or something and they offer online classes. I know the Peloton is offering some free classes right now, and they offer, not just the bike, but they have the floor classes, strength classes, yoga, meditation, stretching, really full wellness. So there’s a lot of options to find some workouts and be open to new things.

So maybe you’ve seen, heard about people doing barre or heard of people kickboxing and it’s caught your attention and your interest. Hey, go! Go hit YouTube and click on a class and try it. Zumba, I know so many friends that are into that. You can definitely do that online and at home and nobody will see you shaking it all silly in your house, cause I’ve watched those Zumba classes and they are entertaining to watch. Obviously we know it scientifically, that when we release our endorphins, it reduces stress and we’re able to cope with things better.

I say the days I work out, I’m a better person, a better mother, I’m more patient with the world. It just makes you feel good to move your body and then being stuck in the home and really going into just the grocery store. I think it’s one of those things about adding to and making the best of this time.

Take this time to ground ourselves, and ground ourselves in our home. So for me, grounding myself in my home includes being gentle with myself, working out, feeling good for my body, eating healthy, sleeping the best I can. I struggle, I get a lot of energy at night, and it’s just, I think it’s genetically because my whole family is like that. I don’t get tired around five o’clock, and then I get this other burst of energy at eight, nine o’clock, and then it’s hard for me to turn it off. So, in those times, tapping into my room, my sacred space, and being grounded of not having to go, go, go with the hustle.

It’s so beautiful and so fulfilling to have a full life, to want to grow, to have goals, to want to empower ourselves, empower others to grow professionally. All of that is so amazing, but sometimes it can be exhausting, and I knew that I needed a break before this happened, I knew that, it was just so much go, go, go personally, professionally, spiritually. So the first month of this, I was really in heaven because I was like, “Oh God, I don’t have to get sick to slow down.” So I’m really taking this time to stay grateful for the things that I have.

I’m healthy, my family’s healthy,  even though in moments we want to strangle one another, we’ve spent so much quality time together and like, this’ll be something we talk about. “Remember that, remember we were quarantined in 2020, remember?” It’ll be something that we’ll talk about and it’ll be a memory forever and it’ll seem a lot lighter when we’re not living in it.

I do know once they started extending the amount of time we’re going to be home and like, the beach was closed. My mom was on a private beach and that was open longer and that was kind of like our thing. My daughter and I had that, we clung on to that, like everything else closed, but we got Nom’s beach, and when that closed, that both hit us in the heart.

Seeing my little girl process those emotions and feelings: I miss my friends. I miss the beach, I miss the park, the trampoline place, all of Disney, all of these things, and being able to be present in those moments with her, but it’s not going to be easy and all days. When they just said that school was going to be closed for the rest of the year here in South Florida, that was a whole other pill to swallow. We knew it was going to happen, but now it’s like, okay, now I have to prepare for another month and a half of this at home. Working, crisis teaching, trying to be balanced, healthy, mentally, spiritually, and physically. So it’s one day at a time.

It truly is a one-day-at-a-time thing; and having a healthy support system. Right now mental illness is at an all-time high; addiction, substance abuse, all time high. That’s why when you usually, I would all day Sunday be able to have a full break and take the day off, right now it doesn’t look like that because everyone’s in crisis and a lot of interventions are happening, a lot of family coaching because a lot of families, especially if their loved one is out of state and in treatment or, or hin transition out, they feel more powerless than usual because they can’t go anywhere.

You can’t hop on a flight, you can’t be there to save or love on your loved ones. There’s a lot of powerlessness that’s going on out there. This is a time for a rise of domestic abuse. My family is a survivor. My mother and my sister and I were survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse and it breaks my heart to know how much of that is going on right now when people’s escapes were to go to work or to go to school. That was the time and space away from their unhealthy home.

And so it’s definitely a really scary time right now for a lot of people. Stay grateful and the fact that most of us are healthy. We are learning new skill sets that are going to be great for us for life. I know the things that are going to be my takeaways from this time and this change are some things that have changed me forever. Taking certain things for granted. I’ve always been an obsessive hand washer, so that’s nothing new, I think that’s gonna change in a lot of people, which is great. We’re going to become cleaner.

Oh, okay. If you are in this industry,  I’ve been putting out there on social media for people to reach out if they are in a domestic situation, if they are feeling unsafe, if people are hungry, no judgment, I will send you food, send you groceries. I mean, this is a time to come together and help our fellow people, I think I complain about working at home, but like, thank God I’m working at home. My father, my stepfather lost his job and my younger sister’s a hairdresser, so salons are closed. So, thank God that I have to juggle the working at home and the teaching at home. It’s really all about perception and where I am on a day-to-day and how much time I am taking for myself and my sacred space, whether that’s a physical place, a spiritual place, a sweating area. Just taking that time for me.

So I’m who I am and what I do. I touched on a little bit at the beginning. Next Level Recovery Associates, I’ve formed with a partner, Blake Cohen. We have a few other people that are working with us, and we offer recovery, coaching, life coaching, family coaching, wellness, interventions, consulting for programs, sober companion and transport. Sober companions,

for anyone that’s not familiar with it, it’s when you basically live with someone that needs that care in the home.

Usually it’s post-treatment, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes I’ve companioned with a group of doctors too that are doing in-home detox, that are overseeing the medical portions and they’re just there for the support, the coaching process. The interventions, I love working with adolescents and adults, families. I had this run rampant in my family since I was young. As I mentioned, I’m in recovery and it’s just… the whole family needs work and help, and especially when you’re dealing with young people, the teenagers, if the family does the work that they need to, they can really determine the future of their loved one.

Thank you for watching this video. We hope you enjoyed the presentation.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.