Written by guest blogger Jamie Criswell, LMFT, Founder & CEO at Foundations Family Therapy.
At Foundations Family Therapy, we help struggling individuals, couples, and families gain hope, reclaim their foundation, and move from surviving to thriving. Sometimes it feels like we have more questions than answers.
When can I safely make plans to be with friends again?
When will the Coronvirus threat pass?
How long will it take for the economy turnaround?
Safe social distancing and tele-health have been challenging for some people who value human connection. While having the ability to stay connected through an online means is valuable and helpful, it can also be overwhelming and mentally draining. Staring at a screen for hours a day is taxing as it is, and something about a face time coffee date is just not quite as sweet as an in person one. But yet, here we are. Anxiety is on the rise due to a decrease in social support. Families everywhere are being impacted by the lack of structure the classroom provides. Schedules have been thrown off, and everything from ballet to math class, to business meetings has been moved online. Trying to juggle the nuances of technology, coupled with the disconnection that the online connection can bring, is leaving a lot of teens, children and families facing a great deal of stress and anxiety.
Even though we’re all feeling a little more stressed these days from telecommuting to e-learning, it’s important to recognize the emotional impact COVID-19 can have on you and your loved ones. And, that you can reclaim your foundation, reduce stress, and learn to thrive with these wellness tips; you don’t have to live your life dodging curve-ball after curve-ball.
1. Embrace Your New Normal: Change your mindset and you can change your life! This is an essential tip for moving from surviving to thriving. Start seeing the glass as half full. Practice gratitude each day. Find the good in the world around you even when it isn’t perfect. Embrace your new normal and build your resilience a little more each day. Look back to see how far you’ve already come! Look forward and see hope on the horizon.
2. Stay Connected: Remember, social distancing doesn’t mean the end of socializing! For some, social distancing can easily slip into isolation which can lead us down paths of hopelessness and cause our thoughts to spiral. If you find yourself struggling with anxious or depressive thoughts during this time, check your level of content first.
Are you still communicating with friends and family members?
Are you making time for things that bring you joy?
Are you finding meaningful alternatives to things that you used to enjoy such as going
to the gym or going out to eat?
Find ways to connect with those you love each day even if you are miles apart.
3. Create Healthy Routines: As we mentioned before, disrupted routines and lack of structure are big stress contributors. Create flexible yet structured routines to help your entire family thrive. Even though we can’t predict the future or know what to expect in the coming weeks, remember that children thrive on routines. Help them create some reliability and consistency in these uncertain times by putting together a schedule for the day. Let your children know what to expect. Be honest about the time you’ll spend at home and come up with creative ways to not only pass the time but to enjoy the togetherness!
4. Schedule Some ‘Me Time’: It’s no secret that self-care is an essential part of your wellness. This is still true even during a global pandemic! Now that everyone is at home, you might find it more difficult to find some time to relax and unwind. The good news is healthy self-care routines don’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Here are some ideas…
• Eat well: be mindful of your intake. Reduce sugar and too much caffeine(which
increases anxiety). Lots of fruits and vegetables.
• Take care of your body and mind: exercise, go for a walk, spend time outdoors
• Connect with your people: talk to and engage with your friends, support groups, family,
church friends, and other loved ones.
• Consider alternative treatments as we phase into reopening around the area that includes
chiropractic care, massage therapy, counseling, acupuncture can all help your body and
mind be at an optimal level of wellness
• Take care of your mind and body through yoga, volunteering, helping others, taking vitamins
and supplements, and using essential oils could also be helpful.
5. Stay Healthy & Grounded: Keep your family safe from unnecessary fear and overwhelming thoughts. Recognize intrusive and anxiety-provoking thoughts and stop them in their tracks. Place your anxious thoughts with facts. Let go of all the “what ifs” and live in the present moment. Arm yourself with facts and take all the necessary safety precautions to help reduce your stress and keep you healthy!
We know the fear is real and can feel overwhelming, and we hope that some of the above tips will be helpful. Remember, stress can take down the best people. But with the right mindset and coping techniques, you can start to feel like yourself again. With the energy to embrace each day…the hope to look forward to the future.
If you find yourself unable to shake the fear or anxiety, never be afraid to reach out for support. You are not alone. Though our individual experiences may look different, we are truly “all in this together” and we will come out on the other side. Perhaps, with a few things to take with us from quarantine.