- BE A KID AGAIN: Remember our children are also processing this pandemic and it very well may not come in verbal conversation. Children will not always tell you what they are feeling but we can pretty much get a hint through their play as they often will act out or play out their feelings and emotions with toys, objects and even conversation displayed while playing video games. Now is the time, since we are sheltered in together to enter their imaginary world and be part of their play time. Don’t be surprised if you find that their play focuses on being sick, going to the Dr or not being able to see friends and playing alone. You can help them by communicating with them through play. Bring back some games you played as a child as well as incorporating yourself their games. You will be surprised at what you may learn.
- NO MORE TV TODAY: We are all consumed by news. We watch the number of confirmed cases and more sadly the death tolls as well everyday. Remember our children are listening as well and can become alarmed at the information coming in. Give yourself a mental health break. Limit the amount of news that you are watching online and on the TV. Definitely limit the amount of time and exposure your children may have to the news. As a parent and adult, set aside certain times of day that you watch or listen to the news. Put yourself on a schedule so that it too becomes part of a healthy routine. Much of what we hear is repeated information and it will only serve to overwhelm and stress your emotional bank account.
- GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK TODAY! As parents you are doing all the things you normally do but in a social environment that is stressed out to the max. You may be even doing more than normal because you are working from home and facilitating a virtual classroom for your children. Because of social distancing the supports that are normally in place may not be there for support at this time , i.e. extended family members and hired help. Don’t blame yourself for what you may feel like is “poor performance” at parenting. You cannot fail at this. We as a human race have not been down this road before and thus there is no roadmap. SO no one is going to judge you towards a right and wrong way to parent as well as navigate this crisis. Practice self acceptance and give yourself a pat on the back each day for a job well done. Practice communicating with your children each day for something they did right or how they solved a problem. This small action will make everyone feel better about themselves.
- LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE: We are worried each and every day for ourselves, our family and friends. In short, there more than one’s fair share of “worry” to go around. Set aside to put “worry thoughts” on the back burner and watch a movie, binge on your favorite Netflix series or even seek out the comedy show circulating on YouTube. Make sure you laugh and smile about something at least once or twice a day.
- GIVE ME MY SPACE: Even though we are practicing Social Distancing many of us are sheltered in with other family members in small and large spaces. No matter the size of space you are living in, being cooped up with little physical distance for relief will undoubtedly bring out the best and worst in us all. Arguments, disagreements and even fighting are inevitable at this time. Remember no one is right all the time and compromise is the key. Remember that we are doing our best to get through this ordeal.
- FCA IS HERE FOR YOU: Now is not the time to stop seeing your therapist or counsellor if you are already seeking treatment. Most Clinicians are all operating in the virtual world – TeleHealth. We at FCA are doing the same. If you do not have a therapist and want to speak with someone, call our office or send an email through our website and we will connect you with one of our clinicians. Also, if you are on medication, now is not the time to stop. Let us know how we can help continue with the medicines that you need. This global health crisis is making it difficult for many of us to cope in a healthy way. So many of us are grieving the loss of a loved one, jobs, homes, even our way of life. Do not feel you are alone, there is help and support that we can provide.
Credit: Dr. Judith Castor/MA PhD.