By Sunny L, July/2020
With COVID-19 issues growing, along with all the uncertainty at every stage of “opening,” many people are becoming more and more anxious about what this means regarding their own health and safety. Added to this is worry is concern about their friends and family, as well.
Beware, though, because your children, and/or grandchildren, are watching and listening, and learning your behaviours. They are absorbing and internalizing this anxiety too. The problem with anxiety is that it’s not logical; we often can’t help that our attention becomes focused on something, and it can be extreme too, to the point of obsession.
As we hear more and more about Coronavirus in the news, the PERCEPTION of it – as a threat – takes hold of us. Of course, the virus is an actual risk but it’s the mind spinning on all the negative possibilities that is our undoing, not the actual risk of the virus itself.
We may feel helpless, tired and grumpy. Our children may absorb what’s happening and they begin to feel helpless too, and a feeling of a loss of control. Without the tools or experience that allows them draw from a larger “coping toolbox,” or level of experience, children may not know how to digest everything they hear or feel. As caregivers, we must try to remain vigilant and strive to find our key to calmness – and rest our nervous systems. We have to show those who depend on us how to tap into the island of calm, as well.
Here are some suggested coping techniques to consider:
- Family time: Set an important pocket of time, say, after dinner, to talk to your children, and other family members, about worries and concerns.
- Make a plan: Children are familiar with drills (fire and earthquake) so work on a “safety” plan together regarding this virus and the steps that will be taken if someone in the household becomes ill. For example, discuss what may happen if mom or dad is sick, and what the plan is if you don’t feel well, etc.
- Time limits: Only watch the news every day at a set time, and for a limited time. (Suggest disabling news-feed alerts on your phone.)
- Keep talking. Research together to find out more information about any details of the perceived threat that is causing excessive anxiety. Filter the facts offered from a reputable source and help each other stay with the facts, only.
Alternately, during the time of quarantine and a new lifestyle of limited routines, you may be affected in another way:
At a recent, virtual Toastmasters’ meeting, I was asked, “What it is like to be me within this Pandemic?” I was surprised to hear some of the answers that others shared. One answer really stuck with me: “I have found [this time of] COVID-19 has brought me peace.” So some have had the experience as a “retreat”. An interesting mindset.
Hope you find a pocket of time to positively “calm the tigers” for you, and yours, today.