HANDLING STRESS/DISTRESS OVER A PANDEMIC
Living week after week in a confined space without knowing when it will stop creates psychological impacts on all of us. Fear is the predominant response as we fear for survival as well as we fear of infecting others. Emotional distress and stress are extremely common as we face the unknown. However, fear can be beneficial as it helps us adapt to social distancing more readily.
Here are a few strategies to help us deal with distress/stress:
1. Maintain a routine. Our routine changed suddenly, and we had to adapt quickly to a new way of living. As human beings, we do better if we stick to a routine. So, it is essential to keep structures in place. Have a family discussion about how to develop and implement a new routine so that everyone, you, your partner, and your children, have an adapted schedule to follow.
2. Engage in self-care activities. Sleeping, meditating, doing yoga, eating healthy, exercising, practicing mindfulness, connecting with nature if possible, are all essential activities that will help you decrease your level of stress and anxiety.
3. Shelter-in-place is an opportunity to reconnect with your immediate and extended family. For instance, the whole family can decide to do one activity all together once a day: walking in the neighborhood, playing a board game, create a story in which everyone invents a section, making a puzzle,…
4. Avoid too much information. Watching too much media coverage may increase your level of anxiety. Get information in moderation so that it feels “just right”. Too much pandemic news can be overwhelming to people of any age. So, protect yourself and your children by limiting the news you are receiving.
5. Contact friends and family. In these challenging times, staying in touch with our loved ones will prevent social isolation. Talking, but also playing some board games, or even doing some dance or sport moves together are strong ways to remain connected with one another.
The stresses over the pandemic and social distancing are substantial and may be long-lasting. The persistent, pervasive thoughts and emotions going through your mind and running around in your body are common. Everyone is experiencing some degree of worry and upset, and it’s not taboo to talk about those thoughts and feelings.
As a parent and a therapist, I want to offer some tips on how to raise happy and healthy kids. Please feel free to comment on my posts.