No doubt these are uncertain times and uncertainty can lead to increased anxiety and depression. With children at home looking to us for comfort and a sense of safety this can all feel overwhelming. For providers you are juggling your practice, your clients and your own family.
Below are just a few strategies for coping during COVID-19 and the resulting physical distancing. Don’t forget you are not alone. Our Parent Support Warm Line and Virtual Support Groups are a great place to connect and receive emotional support.
- Many of us are feeling isolated during this time and reaching out on social media to connect, but then become overwhelmed at the onslaught of too much information. Try limiting scrolling through endless posts, and reach out to friends and schedule virtual meetups (zoom offers free accounts). Our virtual support groups for parents are also a great place to connect with others in similar situations.
- Working from home and having kids to tend to can be overwhelming. Go easy on yourself! We do not need to recreate school structure and schedules. If your kids are spending most days playing, that is OK. This is all an adjustment and we all need time to find our groove – kids too!
- If you have a partner working from home as well, have a conversation about how to work together as a household during this time. Jobs and duties have shifted, perhaps it is time to schedule child care shifts during the day, taking turns with meals and other household chores. This should not all fall to one parent.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional for help, many therapists are offering appointments virtually. See the link below to our COVID-19 resource page and a complete list of providers doing telehealth and who have openings.
- Manage anxiety by limiting your news updates to once a day, and only utilizing trusted, scientific sources – for example your county health department website, WHO, NIH, DOH, or CDC. Information on social media can be contradictory and sensationalized. Choose a reputable source for information gathering and avoid major, for-profit news resources. Your local NPR station is a good example of this.
- One of the ways to support your mental health in this time is to be intentional with the foods we eat for fuel and nutrients, and the foods we eat for pleasure and stress relief. Remembering to nurture your body with healthy, whole foods will help support blood sugar stability and contribute to a more regulated emotional landscape. Also be mindful when you indulge in the occasional treat and thoroughly enjoy the pleasure it brings. Remember, you are handling a lot, and its all about balancing good self-care and coping.
- Take time to experiment with different coping strategies: take a slow walk (or try a fast one), try a few minutes of several mindfulness exercises and see which one you like best (see the link below for resources on guided meditation), get lost in a good book, or try short stories.
- Try to stick to routines, wake up and go to bed around the same time, shower and get dressed (real clothes!), go outside everyday, have real meals at normal times, etc.