Do you feel like you are losing your mind? Do you feel the sudden urge to buy toilet paper and hand sanitizer in panic mode? Are you stressed out by staying at home with your kids all day?
Don’t worry, you are not alone. In these times what is most important is keeping a healthy mind and practice good mental health along with self-care. Just know our kids will remember how their family reacted and how they felt at home during the Coronavirus panic more than anything specific about the virus. Our kids are watching us and learning about how to respond to stress and uncertainty. Let’s work on wiring our kids for resilience and not panic.
We are currently engaged in a full 2020 pandemic which is scary and causes high amounts of anxiety while we all face the unknown into a new day. However, mindfulness and meditation can be our biggest allies in this alarming time. Mindfulness is simply the act of focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, especially as part of a therapeutic or meditative technique. Mindfulness can help you reorganize those moments when you begin to feel overwhelmed and bring you back to your own state of reality. Just remember it is okay to experience and feel those feelings you are having right now, but always come back into a positive light.
Panic is caused by anxiety which is the fear of things not in our control. As you have seen or maybe even you rushed to the nearest grocery store to buy toilet paper and cleaning supplies; just because everyone else was doing it. That is the moment when you felt you had lost control. Buying items and stocking up on essential household items is a psychological way of trying to gain control over a situation that is not in our control. Practice separating what is In your control from what is not.
There are things you can do that are in your control, and it’s helpful to focus on those. One of the best and most effective ways of not contracting the virus is through handwashing. It’s important to wash hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Mindfulness helps take those steps toward recognizing those impulsive face touches and too short hand washes. Also, those 20 seconds of handwashing can turn into a moment of meditation and mindfulness by allowing the feelings of the running water to keep you in the present moment. Good sleep is also imperative to have a healthy immune system. If you cannot sleep, try deep breathing exercises, yoga, or guided meditation videos on YouTube. Living in a state of fear and anxiety can also cause a decline in the immune system. Be mindful of your thoughts and keep them geared into a more positive light to help strengthen your immunity. Exercise and being active is another way of boosting immunity and getting those happy endorphins active in your mind and body. If possible, go outside for a walk in the sun. The sun has positive healing elements that our cells open up too. Eating a healthy well-balanced diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables can play a major role in our mental and physical health. Practice social distancing with at least 6 feet of distance between people if public engagement is necessary. Always clean and disinfect.
Now, if you are a caregiver and are stressed about what to do with these kids all day implement a structured schedule to imitate their time in school. Children thrive in structured environments even when they portray, they hate them. Here is an example:
9:00 am Wake-Up Eat breakfast, make beds, get dressed, put Pjs in the laundry
9:00am-10:00am Morning Walk/Meditation Family walk with the dog, children’s yoga, guided mediation, dance parties
10:00am-11:00am Academic Time No Electronics/unless necessary for school, complete school packets, journal, study
11:00am-12:00pm Creative Time Legos, drawing, crafting, cooking, play music
12:30pm Chore Time Wipe all kitchen table and chairs, Wipe all door handles light switches, Start laundry
1:00pm- 2:30pm Quiet Time Reading, Puzzles, Nap, Meditation
2:30pm- 4:00pm Academic Time Learning Electronic Games or Educational Show
4:00pm-5:00pm Afternoon Fresh Air Bikes, Walk the dog, play Outside
6:00pm-8:00pm Free Time Showers
8:00pm-9:00pm Bed Time All kids who follow the daily schedule and not fight to stay up until 9:00pm
Everyone’s daily routine will change according to their own lifestyles, but this is a schedule only to have something to go by. By making a scheduled daily routine it will help give our children a sense of certainty in times that appear not so certain.
Remember some of the things you can do to support yourself is:
Here at Intrust Healthcare, we are here for you around the clock in hopes to help manage this stressful time with a sense of ease and grace. Give us a call at 606-676-0638. We can provide services through a platform of telehealth options. You don’t have to do this alone, we are just a call away.
Written by Maria Crabtree, LPCC
Intrust Therapist since 2012