ATTN PARENTS: ARE YOU STRESSING OVER CORONAVIRUS? YOU COULD BE MAKING YOUR BODY MORE VULNERABLE …. Here are some tips to avoid the freak out frenzy, take control of what you can, and manage what matters most.
All this constant stream of information coming in from social media, news & media, and even perhaps your email inbox about the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is definitely causing a rise in stress. Worry about school closures and the possibility of reduced hours at work over the next few weeks has caused a lot of panic, especially in the toilet paper isles at almost every retailer.
Let’s look at this scenario from a mental health perspective, shall we? What do you actually have control over at this time of social distancing? What can you do to help your family and household ease the tension of all the stress and worry?
#1 Do the opposite of what you are feeling right now. Stress causes tension which builds up in the body and actually weakens the immune system. Our immunity defense is dependent on our overall health which is contingent on your ability to regulate your emotions and manage your own physical symptoms of stress.
I have some free tools that I will be talking about in the Autism in Action Facebook Group later today if you haven’t joined the group yet please check it out. The link can be found at www.tosharollins.com
#2 Be proactive, not reactive. With our neighboring states already announcing that school closures will be extended over the next couple of weeks, let’s prepare and not panic! We have all been out sick before where we have missed days at work or had to be at home with our children due to other illnesses. This is not your first time having to encounter unexpected circumstances. Did you survive it last go-round? Yes, you did. Position your mindset to be prepared and handle this the same way you did before. This requires patience, planning, and a perspective shift.
#3 Limit your exposure to social media and worldly news to a certain daily time limit. I do believe we all need to be educated on what is happening in the world around us. However, if you are glued to the screen with a constant inflow of negative or anxiety-provoking information, it is going to be extremely difficult for you to manage your stress. Simply put, this causes more stress to manage.
#4 Increase playtime. Adults and children both need to play. Playing brings about a sense of joy that is self-soothing & distracting from stress. If schools are closed, pull out the board games, the deck of cards, art supplies. Start a home project together with your family members. Scrapbook, take pictures, print pictures, and make memories. Watch movies, play video games with your children, read to them. Play hide and seek or go play on the swing. The goal is to be mindful of the moments we have and have fun!
#5 Breathe & Drink Water! Activate the “rest & digest” side of your nervous system, also known as the parasympathetic side of the nervous system. Oxidizing molecules in the oxygen you breathe will pass through your bloodstream to your brain and send the message to the nervous system to relax. Progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, and meditation are all great recommendations to pick a pause and reset if you feel the physical tension becoming unmanageable. Notice an increase in body tension? Headaches? Stomach Problems? Practice structured breathing several times a day to alleviate symptoms. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
#6 Move …exercise is a great tension buster. Stress is stored energy that comes from many different sources in our life. You may not have the ability to control the external factors that contribute to your stress, but you have control over the stress stored in your own body. Turn on some music and dance. Watch an exercise video on YouTube. Go for a walk. Try some relaxing Qigong or Yoga movements. The more you move, the less you will feel stressed.
I hope this helps you gain a little insight into some of the things you actually do have control over during this pandemic. If you live in SC and are considering counseling, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about online counseling considerations. Rollins Counseling is now offering online counseling sessions (access from your phone or computer). *Hippa Compliant, Affordable, and Convenient. Book your session by emailing email@example.com