The coronavirus disease has impacted everyone. Many of us are doing things differently, from social distancing, working remotely, transitioning to distance learning, or filing for unemployment. These things have become our reality and our new way of living as we deal with the uncertainties of this disease. As a community and a nation, we have all been impacted in one way or another. I myself was not sure what this “new normal” would look like for my family, and me. To be honest it has been quite an adjustment, which has not always been easy.
An outbreak, such as COVID-19 can cause fear, anxiety, or stress. These feelings can bring on strong emotions in adults and children. It is important to acknowledge when you are stressed and to find healthy ways to cope during this time. Doing so will not only strengthen you, it will strengthen those around you. Signs of stress may include:
- Worrying about your health and the health of your friends and family.
- Changes in your appetite (increase or decrease)
- Lack of sleep and concentration
- Increase in health problems
- Heightened use of substances such as drugs, or alcohol
If stress and anxiety is preventing you from performing your day-to-day activities, call your healthcare provider.
Be proactive-tend to yourself
Taking care of yourself is important, and is a good way to help you cope with stress and anxiety. Dealing with this on your own can be overwhelming. Listen to your body and be proactive; solicit the help of your friends and family during this time.Here are some ways to help you cope with stress:
- Mediate, schedule breathing exercises
- Eat healthy meals
- Get plenty of rest
- Avoid substance abuse
Take time for yourself and do things that you enjoy. Set a time that is just for you, whether it is once a day, or once a week. Take a walk or journal. Do something that brings you joy. Do not forget to connect with your family and friends. Although we are encouraged to practice social distancing, this does not mean you have to disengage from your network of friends and family. Use online tools to stay connected. My husband I recently connected with our friends online where we talked and played games for what felt like hours. My son video chats with his grandparents every day, sometimes twice a day. It has become a part of our schedule. In a way, with all of the chaos involving the coronavirus, it has brought our family closer in an unexpected way.
Support your children
Responding to COVID-19 calmly and with confidence, can provide the best support for your children. It is helpful to be reassuring during this time. Seeing how well you are handling the impact of COVID-19 can help them cope better with stress or anxiety that they may be experiencing during this time. Here are ways you can support your child:
- Communicate with your child about COVID-19
- Ask them about their feelings and answer any questions they have
- Share the facts about COVID-19
- Let your child know that how they are feeling is okay. Give them some reassurance
- Find activities to do as a family. Minimize watching news coverage of the pandemic
- Be an example for your children. They are looking to you for guidance
Remember, you are not alone. We are in this together, and we will get through this together. Stay connected via Instagram with the Family and Consumer Science team in Palm Beach County for helpful resources.
Do you need assistance dealing with stress or depression? Here are some resources from the CDC:
Disaster Distress Helpline -1-800-985-5990
National Domestic Violence Hotline -1-800-799-7233