Dallas Clay Williams wants you to wake up and make your bed.
Williams, a psychotherapist specializing in anxiety, trauma and LGBT issues, offered a few tips for navigating the coronavirus pandemic.
First step: Make your bed.
“It’s structure,” Williams said via telephone from Miami. “Making your bed should be the first thing you do each day. It means you can’t get back in it and lay in bed all day.”
Making your bed every day creates a routine and during times of struggle having a routine is important, Williams said.
COVID-19 has caused a spike in unemployment. Layoffs and business closures kicked the country’s unemployment rate up to 4.4% in March. A little over seven million Americans are now out of a job.
“The biggest issue is anxiety over uncertainty of how long these changes will last,” said Williams, who holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University.
With many states operating under stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, virtual services have become crucial. Zoom happy hours and social media trivia nights, Williams said, are now a thing.
“Utilize your social network the best you can,” he said.
On a recent telephone town hall with U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22), Cindy Arenberg Seltzer, President and CEO of the Children’s Services Council of Broward County, explained how providers are adapting to the pandemic.
“I also want to let you know about the incredible way the non-profit community is stepping up to support our children and families during this time with respect to mental health,” Seltzer said. “They are still doing their therapy sessions or their family counseling sessions via whatever technology method is available to them.”
Some of the providers offer yoga and meditation sessions for free online, Seltzer said. Links to those providers are available on the CSC Broward website, she added.
“I really encourage everyone to take advantage of that and try and maintain their equilibrium during these very difficult times.”
For those identifying as LGBT, there is not always a family to go home to.
“It’s unique,” Williams said. “There are those with a chosen family and those with a family of origin. It’s a hard time for many of my clients who aren’t straight to go home because they don’t feel comfortable there or are not out to their parents or siblings.”
Williams, 37, is gay and licensed to practice in Florida and Washington, D.C. He said he’s noticed healthy changes in regards to “hook-up apps” such as Grindr, Scruff and Tinder.
“People are moderating their sexual behaviors,” he said.
In order to control the virus, social distance orders are in place. While tough for aextroverts to accept, it can be a blessing in disguise, Williams said.
“For the introvert that’s the silver lining,” Williams said. “This is forcing everyone to slow down and take stock of life. Think about what’s really important — try reading, working out or learn how to play a musical instrument.”
You can follow Williams on Instagram, where he regularly posts inspiring quotes, pictures and videos at @dcteletherapy.