Coping with stress during Covid-19 by Ms. Raphael

We can all agree that Covid-19 was perhaps the most unexpected, unforeseen thing that forced its way into our lives. For many of us, it has disrupted our routines and made simple everyday activities, like work and caring for loved ones, challenging. By now, feelings of stress, fear and nervousness during this pandemic are completely normal. Research has shown that children and teens may respond more strongly to the stress and anxiety caused during this time, and can become frightened that they or their loved ones will get sick. Take time to talk and reassure your children about what is happening in a way that they can understand and make sure that you, as a parent, practice coping mechanisms as you adapt to the new normal.

Here are 3 ways to cope with stress and anxiety during this time.

1. Take a break

Checking the news for vital information and new developments about Covid-19 is very important during this time. However, constantly checking the news can leave you stressed and emotionally exhausted. Besides, most of the updates aren’t always positive or inspiring. Seek out reliable news sources, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or your Local Health Department for the latest information to avoid sharing and receiving false news. Consider turning off notifications, muting groups, posts, feeds etc and limiting the time you and your family spend watching the news to less than a few times per day. Check first thing in the morning and the late afternoon. But not before bedtime! This would help decrease your anxiety and keep your attention away from things that you have little control over. How about a #socialmediabreak?

2. Get Creative

Now that we’re mainly spending time indoors, this is a great opportunity to get creative. Using your hands and your creative brain can be an excellent way to relieve stress. It helps you focus on the present and create something new. If you have arts and crafts supplies on hand, use them to create something special. It’s also an excellent path to family bonding, building memories and getting to know what hidden talents you and your child possess. Here are some other ways you can get creative:

  • try new recipes / cook & bake with your child
  • build something useful for your home using recycled items.
  • transform your home into a cinema, arcade, camp out in the woods
  • Have fashion shows, game nights, pyjama parties, taco Tuesdays right in the comfort of your home

If you need a little inspiration, feel free to check out sites/apps like Pinterest, PearlTrees, FoodGawker, HomeTalk, WeHeartIt and lots more. Remember, you can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have – Maya Angelou.

3. Stay Connected

We’re all in this together! No matter what is happening with you or your child, remind yourself that the entire world is experiencing the effects too; some worse than others. Nonetheless, don’t completely isolate yourself from other people. Feeling emotional about what’s happening can cause some people to withdraw socially, but maintaining relationships and social support are good ways to combat anxiety. Even if you are in self-quarantine or mandatory quarantine, keep up social interaction using FaceTime/Skype, phone calls, or text messages. If your kids are missing their friends from school or best friend from another town, work with parents to arrange fun virtual dates. Check in with family, friends and neighbours; that way you take your mind off things, and show them how much you care. Besides, who doesn’t love a good chit chat?

If your stress is causing you to feel more anxious or depressed, don’t be afraid to reach out. Many experts are available to provide virtual support during these uncertain times.

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