This week’s blog is guest-written by Phoebe Crook, Assistant Psychologist at Headspace Guildford. Thanks Phoebe!
Whilst we may have been in lock down for nearly 3 weeks now, it is still perfectly normal to feel lost and unmotivated. Every day we are bombarded with more information, most of which isn’t positive. So naturally anxiety during this time is high, both for parents and children. This heightened anxiety makes sense as everything we have known before now has changed. So, don’t worry if you or your child is feeling anxious about this situation, it is totally normal. However, excessive anxiety and worry about the current situation can feel overwhelming and is not helpful. Therefore, perspective and distraction are key to remaining on top of either you or your child’s anxiety during these times. Here are few useful reminders of how to manage anxiety around coronavirus.
- When you feel overwhelmed, remind yourself of what preventative measures you are doing to stay safe at home, for example, washing your hands frequently. Reassure your children that you are taking measures to protect them
- Limit the amount of news your family is consuming- Whilst things are changing rapidly you might be tempted to keep checking the news or your social media outlets. But recognise when this is unhelpful. It is important to stay informed about what is happening but being constantly bombarded with negative news can be overwhelmed. Try and limit the exposure your child has to news and ensure that you are maintaining limits of your consumption, for example, only read the news for a few minutes in the morning or in the evening.
- Try and focus on positive events, even if they are small. This might include the weather getting nicer, or flowers blooming. It might be helpful to build in a small positive activity each day that gets you and your child smiling, such as a creative task or a game.
- Keeping a routine is important. We do not know when things will go back to normal and we do not know when we can start going to work and school again. However, we can try and maintain a routine as if things are happening as normal. Keep bedtimes, wake up time and mealtimes consistent. This routine will give you and your child’s day a sense of structure and reduce uncertainties.
Finally, it is extremely important to praise yourself for still managing to do the little things, no matter how small they are. There is a trend on social media and online news outlets that promotes productivity during this ‘lock down period’. This is making people believe they are failing if they are not suddenly doing a new hobby, cleaning the house until it’s sparkling, doing perfect home schooling or doing an at home workout every day. This might be achievable for some, but it is pretty unrealistic. It is okay if you aren’t being productive during this time, you are naturally feeling unsettled. It is okay if you aren’t managing to do a full days of home schooling, you and your child are both still getting used to this adjustment. Do not feel guilty if you are just getting up, watching some tv and going for a walk. Some days you might feel less anxious and feel like you can do more and other days you might want to take it easy. Listen to what your mind and body is telling you. Of course, keeping a basic routine is important but do not stress if you feel you aren’t achieving as much as others. Take some time to breathe and reset. The uncertainties will unfortunately continue for a while but keep checking in with yourself and your child. Try and forget about how other people might be managing better than you and focus on how you can take small steps to managing or minimising your anxiety. There was no way to prepare for all this uncertainty so remember, you and your child are managing really well so far!
Here is a helpful link talking about anxiety, self-care and Covid19 anxiety.