Staying home everyday, knowing you can’t go out unless it’s a short walk or a essential trip to the grocery or drug store, presents many challenges that families normally do not have. Individuals in families are used to going to work and school, spending time with friends and engaging in activities that are meaningful. We are not used to all being together all of the time. In addition, there is the real fear of getting sick. This situation creates an enormous amount of anxiety for all of us. In order to be helpful, I have put together a list of tips to consider during this stressful time
1. Change is the only guarantee in life, and we have to remember that the current situation will not last forever. If we can accept that, it will feel better.
2. Create a schedule for yourself (and your kids). Decide in the morning what you will do that day. It really will help
3. Get dressed! (and take a shower) PJ’s are comfy, but staying in them all day gets depressing.
4. Exercise, somehow… check out Youtube videos, go for a fast walk or bike ride, being sure to maintain social distance
5. Stay connected to others through the phone, facetime, texts, etc. It’s an important time to have community. Plan virtual dinners, playdates, cocktails. Call friends you haven’t spoken to in a while. It will feel good.
6. Practice self care. Do what you need to in order to recharge…that might mean take some quiet time, take a bath, meditate if you have a practice. If you don’t have a meditation practice and want one, check out the “Healthy Minds” App and learn how. If you are feeling low, check out the “Happify” App and play some happy games. Both apps are free.
7. Be generous and understanding with people in your family. This is the time for leeway, with others and with yourself. Be more flexible than usual, the situation warrants it. Co-parents may change schedules to accommodate less transitions to keep people safer.
8. Don’t be self critical. This is a very hard time. Maybe this is the time to relax media rules and allow your kids to watch more NetflIx. While everyone is more anxious, so try exhibiting more patience.
9. Distract yourself with something interesting….read a novel, watch a show, play games, bake cookies, fix something, do art projects etc.
10.Don’t watch and/or listen to news all day. Hearing about the coronavirus will only make you more anxious. And your children should definitely not hear a lot about how sick people are getting and how the hospitals are filled to capacity.
11.Hydrate and eat well. Plan good meals as this is truly grounding.
12.Control what you can as there’s so much you can’t control. When your kids ask how long this will last, there’s no answer. No one knows but you need to help your kids feel safe and comfortable. So, play a game, clean out a closet, reorganize toys, find a project, organize photos, play music, be creative!
13.Be mindful of your children’s ability to take in the crisis. Answer their questions as honestly as possible, without scaring them. Children are very resilient and will follow your lead. If you are ok, they will be too. If you’re not ok, they won’t be either!
14.Check out resources. There are many online. The Washington Post has an online platform called “On Parenting” with lots of good articles.
15.Be open to your co-parent and work together to help each other out. This is the opportunity to be your best selves.
16.Find something positive about the situation. Maybe you are spending more good time with your children, or you are able to enjoy being at home and have a little more free time, or you’ve connected with a cousin you haven’t spoken to in years. There is always a silver lining if you look for it.
17.Know that moods will shift and go up and down. Allow your feelings to surface and do your best to contain the hard ones and not take them out on others. Try journaling or talking to a friend or a therapist.
18.A positive attitude will go a long way…work towards maintaining one.