Coping With Anxiety Amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic

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corona virus

It’s a very unusual and anxiety-provoking time for most of us. Our lives have been disrupted in ways we could never have imagined possible even a few weeks ago, and the fear of the unknown is looming.

 As parents, how do we cope? Our kids are watching our every move, so we need to stay composed even when our mind is spinning. Here are some tips that are helping me navigate this new world with a calm(ish) presence.

Avoid the COVID-19 Rabbit Hole

I’m telling you this from experience. The other night I dove into that rabbit hole unknowingly and couldn’t sleep that night. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and also quite frankly a lot of stuff we just don’t know yet.

My advice is to pick one or two reliable sources and use them as your sole news source. Avoid social media posts that are anxiety-inducing or fear-mongering.

 My preferred websites for information right now are the CDC and WHO, as well as the New England Journal of Medicine. 

Be Informed, Not Panicked

This is similar to the one above. Panic doesn’t help, so if you are reading something that is upsetting or making you feel anxious, stop reading it. Call a friend, go for a walk, do something to clear your head and refocus. 

Have a Plan

For most of us, we will have our kids home with us the next four plus weeks, which prompted some mutiny nightmares for me last night. So this morning, I came up with a “homeschooling” plan for the weekdays. OK, if I’m being honest, my friend sent me hers and I created our own using her template.

With such a fluid and ever-changing global situation, it helps our kids to have some structure in their daily lives. Try to emulate their school day at home. Have them get dressed and eat breakfast, then set up a schedule something like this: reading, math, recess, snack, arts and crafts, lunch, science, etc. Hang it up on display so everyone knows the plan. It will help the kids to know what to expect and will help you (or your caretaker) have guidance on what to do each day. 

Take Care of Yourself

This is tricky, as many of our typical outlets like gyms, coffee shops, or lunch dates are limited right now. I urge you to get creative. Dig that old bike out of your garage or find some yoga videos online. Maybe now is the time you actually try that meditation app you have always intended to use. Whatever it is, schedule that into your daily routine. We can’t take care of our families if we aren’t taking care of ourselves. 

Cultivate Your Support Team and Connect With Them Regularly

With social distancing our new reality, maintaining connections is crucial. In a crisis, you want to stay in touch with friends who build you up, are supportive and positive, and don’t exacerbate your stress. Find those people now and connect with them regularly. Set up a Facetime wine night every few nights, or set aside time each day to call each other to check-in. Social distancing can feel isolating, and we need each other now more than ever.

Put Down Your Phone

I strive for this one every day, but even more so now. It’s so easy to be absorbed with the steady stream of news updates and texts, but really we only need to be updated once or twice a day. So schedule those times and then put the phone away and be present. With your kids, your work, or a house project you’ve been waiting to start. Try to view this as an opportunity to get stuff done around the house you’ve been putting off.

 I know these times are challenging, and the sooner we all work together to follow the state recommendations of social distancing, the better this COVID-19 situation will be. So mommas, let’s support each other to stay calm, stay informed, and take care of one another. 

 

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Meredith
Meredith is a transplant to the Bay Area and has fallen in love with the weather, gorgeous scenery, and plethora of local wineries. A wife and mother of two, she works part-time as a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. She hails from Texas, where she attended the University of Texas and will always bleed orange. She then moved to Washington DC to attend Georgetown's School of Medicine, where she fell in love with her future husband, a fellow student, and has been happily married for almost a decade. She and her husband lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for several years for their medical training and found it the perfect place to start a family. She relocated to the Bay Area a few years ago and has quickly adapted to West Coast living. Meredith enjoys the balance of part-time working and full-time parenting and loves to write about this ongoing struggle. In her persistent drive to find more "me time", she actively pursues her interests in reading, running, soccer, baking, and wine tasting.

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