This Coronavirus Pandemic is a little unnerving for all of us. It’s something scary out in the world, and now in our own communities, that we cannot control. We can feel our anxiety building and our underlying fear start to surface. We might notice that we are irritable, that our children are having meltdowns and tantrums more often. We might notice that our normal high-functioning day and our multi-tasking selves are not quite performing like we used to. We might notice that we are fantasizing about grabbing a warm cozy blanket and curling up on the floor under the table or behind the couch, shutting the world out as if we could escape this surreal situation. We might feel invincible one moment, and helpless the next. As our subconscious starts to process this unprecedented situation, we might even notice that we’re doing some unusual things; like I did yesterday, when I returned the box of raisins to the refrigerator instead of the cabinet… and when I tossed laundry soap into the dryer… and just stared at them knowing that ‘something just wasn’t right’ but not immediately able to discern what that was. I heard myself singing ‘One of these things just doesn’t belong here’ and then I chuckled to myself and figured out what I was looking at.
This might just seem overwhelming; we might just not know where to begin. And it is overwhelming if we try to take it all in at once. So, let’s unpack this coronavirus stuff and see what we can do to get a handle on how we can proceed in our homes, on lockdown, homeschooling, cooped up with our little families and not knowing what exactly to do. Once we break it down into doable chunks, I bet we will feel a little better about protecting our families and our own mental health!
First: let’s do our part to STOP the SPREAD.
Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.
Wash them often, wash with a foaming soap, wash thoroughly. Teach your children to wash properly. Make it a game; give rewards for great hand washing compliance – like marbles in a jar. Make up a song that cues up the family to stop what they’re doing and wash hands. Make it fun!
Limit your grocery store trips: think it through, make a list and get what you need. Try to delay that next trip by getting by using other food for a day instead of what you’re craving. Only go out for essential trips. Use your hand sanitizer as soon as you get back to your car.
Honor social distancing guidelines; don’t cheat – it doesn’t do anyone any good.
Second: Let’s pay attention to the information available – and get that information from reputable sources. Use restraint when your IG, Twitter or FB feed suggests a quick fix using hair dryers or lemon juice, or tries to draw you in to believing some conspiracy theory… and don’t share non-reputable information. Instead go right to the reputable sources like: the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) or the National Institutes of Health (www.nih.gov) or the World Health Organization (www.who.int).
If you want to geek out on what’s happening in the cells in our body when we contract COVID-19, find technical explanations from YouTube’s Dr. Seheult on the MedCram channel or Ninja Nerd Science channel – both provide regular updates with detailed cell biology and public health data and information. If you want to watch the rapidly changing data in the world, find those at www.worldometers.com .
And more locally, check the California Department of Public Health (www.cdph.ca.gov) for developing data.
If it makes you crazy, irritable, super worried or anxious to see this information – know that about yourself and limit how many times a day that you check in. Take this time instead to deepen family relationships, learn a new skill, or connect with far away family via FaceTime or Skype.
Third: Acknowledge that you are modeling for your children how to navigate a crisis. Take charge of the mental health of your family. Be responsible for the energy you bring – you have a choice to bring increased worry and stress OR a creative and cheerful spirit as you go about your day.
(Click on the image to the left to see other WarmLine tips on talking to your children about Coronavirus!)
Give yourself some grace. Do the best you can. Forgive yourself for not having everything perfect right now. We are all navigating this in our own way. Take advantage of the opportunity to grow and learn about yourself, about your family and how important you are as the matriarch of your little brood.
Post submitted by WarmLine Member Patty Reis