Living with COVID-19 is an Adjustment
We have all been on a whirlwind lately! COVID-19 precautions began in earnest in Canada on 13th March 2020 with the closing of schools, community services and then many stores.
A lot has happened in a very short space of time.
This has been a HUGE adjustment for us all. As we all adjust to our (hopefully temporary) normal, here are some tips on how to navigate it for you and your family.
Connect, Acknowledge and Validate Feelings
Whenever we adjust to new circumstances it is important to connect with others in the same situation (all of us right now!) and share our feelings, dilemmas and problem-solve together.
During any adjustment period, it is normal to feel sad, hopeless or worried. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and have difficulties concentrating. It is normal to put off doing certain things while you work out what your new priorities are.
We are fortunate to live in a time where physical separation does not have to mean social isolation.
Many people are connecting on social media, video calls etc.
Be honest with friends and family about how you have been feeling. Connect with colleagues in the same field to validate that you have similar dilemmas and problem-solve together.
Find Ways of Offering and Getting Practical Help
Human beings are social creatures but our “communities” are changing at the moment.
Think about how to better connect with your neighbors.
Is there a Facebook group you can join? If not, can you create one?
Let people know if you see essential items in store (toilet paper!).
Think about those in your neighborhood who might need assistance and find ways to offer food drop-offs etc. Caring for others can make us feel better in ourselves.
Try Not to Let Your Fears Become Your Kid’s Fears
Kids read their parent’s emotions. There are actually “mirror neurons” in the brain that mirror things that we see and feel/perceive from others.
If your kids see you are scared, they are more likely to be scared.
I caught myself yesterday telling a friend (in front of my kids) that I had been scared going grocery shopping. I stopped myself and changed my narrative. I don’t want my kids to feel scared because of how I might be feeling at one point in time.
Truth be told, most kids are probably perfectly happy at the moment – if they have parents or caregivers who are able to spend time with them. They have no school, no rushing out of the house in the morning, no being shipped between classes and can just stay home, play and connect with friends and family.
Adopt a Pace of Life that Is Right for You and Your Kids
I have been overwhelmed with the possibilities of things I could do at home with my kids. I’ve seen recommendations on Facebook, had emails and texts from people. Longer and longer lists of free things and compilations of ideas with more and more companies and museums with free online offerings.
Don’t get me wrong, this is amazing that people are doing this and sharing this but there comes a point where that in itself can be overwhelming. If you are finding it overwhelming, know that it is ok to not “do it all” (or even read it all)!
If a schedule is helpful for your family, go for it. If your family does better going with the flow, go for it.
If your family does well with a few daily plans but flexibility about when you do them, go for it. We don’t all have to do this the same.
We have to do this in a way that works for us and our families.
There’s another dangerous VIRUS and it’s in your backyard.
As with all illnesses, if you are worried about your symptoms, you should see a healthcare provider.
Dr. Jemma Helfman is a child and adolescent clinical psychologist. She works at Kidcrew, providing assessment and interventions for children with a variety of presenting difficulties. Jemma also provides consultation and training to schools and daycares.