The views expressed in this blog are personal and belong solely to the author(s). The views do not represent those of people, organizations, or institutions such as LLNL that the author (s) may be associated with unless explicitly stated.
Ready or Not?
May 2021 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
Vaccines have become more easily accessible in the United States in recent weeks, and California is set to officially “reopen” on June 15th. While many countries continue to struggle with rising case numbers and vaccine accessibility, the US seems to be entering a new phase. Thus, it may be physically safer and increasingly possible to engage with the people and places we have been distanced from for so long. The moment many of us have been waiting for has arrived. But how do you feel about it emotionally? Are you ready?
Finding Meaning Through Mourning
February 24, 2021 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
The United States has now surpassed 500,000 deaths from Covid-19. This grim milestone is even greater than those who died during World Wars I and II. The number is incomprehensible yet in order to cope, we must allow ourselves to feel, process, and make sense of the losses.
Dr. David Kessler, a renowned author and grief expert, poignantly reflected upon the lives taken and how those who remain can honor, find meaning, and learn to live with the loss of a loved one.
I hope the video clip below brings you some comfort and hope. I know I was moved by it.
The Psychology Behind our Pandemic Eating Behaviors
January 14, 2021 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
The Coronavirus pandemic and resultant stay at home orders have affected our lifestyles and eating behaviors in a variety of ways. At the beginning of the pandemic, in an effort to occupy time, find comfort, and to provide a sense of safety and food security during a period of uncertainty, many of us turned to bread making, baking, elaborate meal creating, and hoarding during infrequent grocery store trips.
December 14, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
It is that time of year. Many of us are "homesick" for the people, places, and rituals that typically mark the holiday season . Below are two quick reads that I found helpful in aiding myself and my children as we continue to cope with a year unlike any other.
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
November 17, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
This holiday season will be unlike any other for my family and many others around the nation. Last weekend, we celebrated Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights that marks the triumph of good over evil, and light over darkness. It was a markedly different holiday than years past.
October 19, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
This weekend we celebrated our daughters 8th birthday. She requested a scavenger hunt, a pinata, and homemade chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and strawberries. What she did not request was very telling.
How Parents Can Mentally Prepare Themselves for a School Year Like No Other
September 2020 / The Washington Post
Before her grandson’s school district announced its final plan for this fall, Kecia Burton had already decided that there was no way he was going to attend school in person.
Finding Strength and Resilience During Trying Times
July 16, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
The last few months have been very difficult for many of us. The separation from loved ones, places of work, pursuits that bring us joy and fulfillment, along with health, financial, and educational concerns are a tremendous emotional burden to bear.
June 10, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
The last few weeks have been trying and eye opening for our nation. The recent death of George Floyd has brought the longstanding issues and impact of systemic racism, abuse of power, and implicit bias to the forefront of our national discussion. In watching the protests, I have been captivated.
September 8, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
I hope you had a nice Labor Day weekend. I wanted to share an article that was passed on to me by a client. She found it very helpful, as did I. When we heated up again this weekend and there was concern the power grid may be overloaded, it made me think of this piece.
The Long Haul
July 7, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
It has been over 6 months since the term Covid-19 entered the worldwide lexicon. It appears that the virus may be with us for some time to come. In addition to following the safety guidelines of social distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing, it remains essential to safeguard our mental health.
How to Avoid Friendship Fallout
June 1, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
It has now been well over 2 months since we were advised to shelter in place and limit to only essential activities due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Many have abided by those guidelines. Now that businesses are reopening, people are growing increasingly restless staying at home and engaging solely with those in their home, another dilemma is presenting itself.
Going Back to School Webinar
September 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
I hope this message finds you continuing to cope. In recent weeks, in addition to the pandemic, confronting the racial divisions in our society, supporting children returning to some version of schooling, we Californians also had wildfires to contend with. I don't know about you, but it has all been a bit overwhelming at times.
Supporting and Supported: When Coronavirus Hits Close to Home
July 27, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
As cases of Coronavirus continue to rise, we may increasingly know friends or family members who have tested positive for the Coronavirus or may have been infected ourselves.
June 22, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
I hope you all had a restful weekend. If marking Father’s Day, I hope you had an enjoyable time with family near, were able to connect with those who are far, or spent time remembering loved ones who have passed on.
May 18, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
In some ways when all was shut down but the essentials, the choices were simpler as there were a lack of options. Now as more businesses and recreational activities reopen, there are decisions to be made.
A Few Questions
May 11, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
My posts in recent weeks have been rather heavy. I know this is because the gravity of what we are collectively experiencing has been weighing on my mind. This week, I found myself needing to seek out the good.
Sobering News: Alcohol and the Coronavirus
April 20, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
Virtual happy hours, home delivery, online classes on how to craft specialty cocktails including the “quarantini,” and wine down every day, not just Wednesdays, have become part of the pandemic subculture.
Managing Loneliness during the Coronavirus Crisis
April 1, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” - Martin Luther King Jr.
May 4, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
We are all at war against the novel coronavirus. Our large cities, small towns, and especially our hospitals are battlefields. Healthcare workers are making countless, rapid decisions that significantly impact those under their care. The gravity of these decisions can strain doctors' and nurses' own physical and mental health now and in the future.
The Struggle with the Juggle is Real
April 12, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
My husband has commandeered half of the formal dining table as his home office. There is his work laptop, cell phone, notepads, pens, highlighters, a pillow to make the dining chair just a bit more comfortable, and space for a coffee mug, water bottle, and snacks to fuel him throughout the day.
All This Togetherness
March 29, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
Yesterday my children wanted to sleep in our room. My husband and I let them come on in, as we have on multiple occasions since the Coronavirus transformed our everyday lives. We are trying our best to be sensitive to their needs.
The Certainty of Uncertainty
April 27, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
What if I get sick?
What if someone I love gets sick?
What if my husband or I lose our job?
What will happen to the national and global economy as this situation continues?
Thoughts on Mourning this Morning
April 6, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
I woke up today with a profound feeling of sadness. So much has been lost in the last few weeks, and the weight of that loss has started to sink in. The ultimate loss, of course, has been the many lives lost to the Coronavirus.
Managing in the Now
March 26, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
During the Coronavirus pandemic, where the “enemy is unseen”, where so much is unknown, gradually unfolding, and out of our control, those with anxious symptoms may have an exacerbation and others may experience significant worry for the first time.
The Importance of Gratitude
March 22, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
It may seem odd to have gratitude in the subject line of this message. Gratitude when much is uncertain? Gratitude when our cities are shutting down? Gratitude when people are suffering greatly? Yes... gratitude.
The 4 M's
March 16, 2020 / by Roopal Lalaji, Psy.D., LLNL EAP Psychologist
On the news a few days ago, I heard a mental health clinician going over her 4 Ms for Mental Health and resilience during a crisis. I wanted to pass on and elaborate upon as I felt they are very relevant during this difficult time and may be of support to you.