Pandemic, Not Pathology

Mary Ragan, PhD, LCSW and Executive Director of Psychotherapy & Spirituality Institute, offers this description of life in a time of COVID-19:

“Most of us look okay on the outside, but we are encased by fear, anxiety, and confusion.”

Mary Ragan, PhD, LCSW and Executive Director of Psychotherapy & Spirituality Institute.
Mary Ragan, PhD, LCSW and Executive Director of Psychotherapy & Spirituality Institute,

Ragan facilitated an hour-long, online discussion "Your Well-Being and COVID-19" on December 20, presented by PSI in partnership with Trinity Church Wall Street, explaining how body, mind, spirit, and soul are all connected.

“Are you asking yourself what’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with you is that we’re in a pandemic.

"It’s the pandemic, it’s not pathology.”

Ten months into life radically changed by the novel coronavirus, and with its end still quite uncertain, seeking resilience becomes the primary task for everybody.

“The coronavirus winter is going to bring special challenges. We need to take care of the basics in troubled times.” Mary Ragan describes those basics as:

1. Regular Exercise

2. Sleep Hygiene

3. Mindfulness Practices such as yoga and meditation

4. Music

“Be aware of habits forming during pandemic times that will negatively affect your health,” Ragan suggested to the approximately 20 people who shared their experiences during the discussion.

“Do what resonates with your heart and your soul.”

Zoom meeting

Participants shared some of the challenges of the pandemic, and working from home during quarantine, including a lack of motivation to exercise even after a lifetime of athletic activity, and working excessive hours without the “boundaries” provided by office work. Another mentioned her new habit of walking in the evening and how she now meets a younger couple with a new-born baby who walk at the same time.

Ragan noted how that latter story provided an example of how human connection can also bring us needed accountability.

“We affect one another and we help each other in ways that we don’t even know we are helping.”

The group ended the meeting by watching Abigail and Shaun Bengson, a married, composing and performing duo based in Louisville, KY, perform "The Keep Going Song" with a final message from Mary Ragan.

“In this dreadful time, we know what grief is. What we need to extend to ourselves is compassion.”