We are all on edge because of COVID-19. Our lives have been disrupted, we are not sure what tomorrow may bring, and for many of us the around-the-clock news and social media coverage is not helping.
Many parents are having a hard time dealing with pandemic. Some are having more difficulty than their children. What that means is that some of the anxiety that kids are experiencing may be unintentionally passed on by “us” the worried parents.
We need to model for our kids how to react to stress by coping with anxiety in healthy way. This may be difficult, but here are a few tips that can help you navigate our “new normal.”
Be discerning about what you are reading. We need be thoughtful about what we are reading online to make sure it is helpful. It is easy to inadvertently get sucked into reading every update as it comes in or clicking on “fake mental health news” that can be detrimental mentally and physically.
Put a limit on the number of articles you read, or for the length of time you spend reading about the coronavirus each day. If the media you consume makes you anxious —, people hoarding supplies, overcrowded restaurants, food shortages — take a break. Being informed is one thing; going down a “Google rabbit hole” is another.
Rely on routines. Establish a routine and ensure that it contains exercise, healthy meals, and 7 to 8 hours of sleep. These simple building blocks are vital to mood regulation. If your old routine is no longer possible because of COVID-19, look for ways to be flexible and build a new routine. For mom’s include your children in the discussion and make it a family activity. Remind yourself that life is going on. Ground yourself by doing things like making daily and weekly agendas and setting small, but attainable goals.
If you are still having trouble coping, it is okay to ask for help. Contact your provider or find a therapist who provides telehealth. They can work with you to help manage your symptoms and set attainable goals.