Two Bismarck Psychologists say a routine helps bounce back from pandemic

Good Day Dakota

Since living through the challenging effects of the worldwide pandemic for a year now, mental health has become a common topic among all ages.

Opening up in therapy can be difficult when you don’t know the person. But owners of a local mental health practice say being authentic is what connects them to their clients.

KX News met up with the owners of Missouri River Health who prides themselves on normalizing the conversation around mental health.

Bob Johnson, co-Owner and psychologist at Missouri River Health says, “Frustration, a lot of disappointment, anger, and worry. Helplessness and hopelessness would be a lot of the ways I would describe the way the past year has been for a lot of people.”

He adds, “Everyone who we’re seeing is experiencing some sort of level of emotional distress because of everything that’s been going on.”

Johnson says mainly, the change in everyone’s schedules has caused a rift in routines due to the pandemic.

Shannon Wiesz, co-Owner, and psychologist at Missouri River Health says, “Of course a very important thing particularly now when we look at something like the pandemic going on you see high rates of anxiety and things like that because this is very different than anything we have experienced at least in our lifetime.”

Johnson and Wiesz met in graduate school at the University of North Dakota over 15 years ago and opened Missouri River Health this month. Just in time to begin to help people get back on track after a year of uncertainty. A big part of it is helping people find a routine or schedule.

Wiesz says, “It can be integrating so many other aspects in life, whether it be a person’s diet or their exercise regimen, yoga, things of that nature.”

He says weaving those things together helps make a well-rounded life. Another things they focus on is skill-building.

Wiesz adds, “How do I communicate how I’m feeling to other people, how do I set boundaries if I need to like if I’m stressed out trying to juggle my child’s education, work and all these different things as well as my well being, how do I know when it’s appropriate to set those kinds of boundaries?”

The two suggest focusing on three things right now: sleep, exercise, and diet. But Johnson says not everyone does that perfectly.

Johnson explains, “As Shannon’s talking about the skills of balance, I can’t raise my hand to any of those. Healthy eating, diet, exercise, sleep; we’re all human beings and we’re all working on things to improve ourselves.”

This authenticity comes across to their clients.

Johnson says, ” We’re not talking down to them about what they should be doing. We’re talking with them about things that could be helpful, things that we’re also trying to work on ourselves.”

Both Johnson and Wiesz say that by being themselves with clients, it encourages them to be real too and that’s all part of the healing process.

With anything, they agree, change doesn’t happen overnight so being gentle with yourself is important right now.

For more information on Missouri River Health go here.

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