As the number of cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) increases across the globe, there is a growing sense of insecurity, stress, and anxiety. As part of the response to the virus, people all over the world must stay home and loosen their social bonds. The growing sense of insecurity, stress, and anxiety, coupled with prolonged levels of isolation, can wreak havoc on a person’s mental health.
According to Dr. Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional director for Europe, “Physical distancing and isolation measures, and the closure of schools and workplaces, are particularly challenging for us, as they affect what we love to do, where we want to be, and who we want to be with. ” It is important to remember that it is natural for each of us to feel stress, anxiety, fear, and loneliness during this time. Kluge continued to explain the importance of mental health during these turbulent times, urging people everywhere to remain aware of the detrimental effects of stress and anxiety.
Here are some tips to help you to navigate these uncertain times and help yourself and your children cope with the stress and anxiety.
Maintain habits and routines
According to says Deborah Serani, PsyD, “Studies in resiliency during traumatic events encourage keeping a routine to your day. This means eating meals at regular times, sleeping, waking, and exercising at set times, and maintaining social (socially distant) contact.” Maintaining a schedule and a routine is helpful when trying to manage anxiety. It will not only help you and your child to adapt to the current reality but also to feel a sense of certainty in a chaotic world. People like the feeling of certainty and when things feel uncertain or when we don’t generally feel safe, it’s normal to feel stressed or anxious. Maintaining a schedule helps to provide a sense of stability, security, and structure for children, which is vital in times like this.
Now more so than ever, incorporating physical activity into you and your children’s daily life is critical. Not only will it help to boost physical and mental wellbeing, but it also will help to decrease feelings of stress and anxiety. Regular exercise also helps everyone to be calmer, keep a robust immune system, and sleep better. Many gyms and centers are offering online workouts and classes. Now is also an excellent opportunity to get engaged as a family by doing fitness activities together.
Goal setting is fundamental for success. It is important to set manageable and achievable goals to work on each day and week. This helps students to be accountable for the tasks set out for them. Goals are also helpful to help students feel like their tasks are more achievable, reducing feelings of discouragement. Goals should be challenging but attainable while including a clear breakdown of the steps to achieve the goal. It is essential to think of ways in which you can help monitor your children’s progress towards goals. For example, you can make this into a family activity where everyone works on their goals together. You could also make this into a creative project, where you have the children spend some time creating visual goal boards.
Monitor Social Media and Television viewing
This time, it is vital for parents to monitor TV, the internet, and social media for your children. Constant updates and information on COVID-19 can increase anxiety and stress in children, especially if they do not understand all the facts. It is important to discuss current events with your children and make sure they are receiving accurate, age-appropriate information. This may be a great time to talk to them about ways in which they can access factual sources. Allow your children to ask any questions and encourage them to have an open discussion. This is important, so they are understanding what is going on and are not reading and viewing inaccurate information or rumors. It is important to remain calm, listen, and offer reassurance to your children.
In this time of increased physical distancing and isolation, it is important to make sure you and your children are staying socially connected. It is crucial to maintain levels of social connection with friends, family, and the community because they are often our most significant support systems during tough times. Now is the time to connect with family members near and far. Utilizing video calling platforms such as Skype and FaceTime is a great way to maintain mental health. In place of playdates and dinners, you could encourage your children to go outside and play, host a virtual meal or play date, or play an online game with friends. There are also many museums and zoos from around the world that are offering virtual visits.
As the country and the world focuses on health, we want to make sure that mental health is not overlooked. Please feel free to reach out to us with questions or head over to our services page for information about finding a one-on-one academic coach.