We hope that you and your families are healthy and staying safe. In one way or another, we are all affected by the current COVID-19 situation.
Our science tells us that sometimes children and adults experience increased difficulties during times of crisis, and that many children and adults can also manage crisis situations with minimal difficulties. Indeed, children and adults often discover strengths in themselves and others and manage well in times of crisis, finding strengths that might have gone unnoticed previously.
We offer a few thoughts below. Each week, we’ll expand upon each of these points to provide you with five practical tips and ideas. Check back weekly for tips and updates!
1. Parents, providers, and other adults need to take care of themselves. You will be better able to take care of others if you are healthy, safe, and able to manage stress during these challenging times. Tips for self-care:
a. Make taking care of yourself a priority. If you are suffering, you will be less able to help your children through this challenging period.
b. Stay healthy and take care of your body. Try to eat well, get some exercise, sleep well, and address physical illness.
c. Social support is important. During this time of “social distancing” you can still stay connected with people in your life using phone, texts, emails, FaceTime or other ways of connecting. Reaching out to friends and family can provide support and keep you connected with others.
d. You can’t do it all by yourself. Asking others for help and support is not a sign of weakness, rather getting some help can make things go smoother for you and your family. Having others help by reading stories or engaging in activities with your children through online tools can also make a difference when kids are “sheltering at home” and can’t attend school or other activities.
e. Build in time for yourself. Finding some time to relax, enjoy a moment, or accomplish something you want to do is important for taking care of yourself. It may feel like there is no time; but taking time to take care of yourself can make you more effective at taking care of others, which can save time overall.
f. Show yourself compassion. Doing your best to follow your normal routines is an accomplishment. Give yourself credit for doing everyday tasks like doing the laundry and cooking meals for your family during this difficult time.
g. Focus on what you can control at this time. Worrying about when schools may reopen or the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 are things outside of your control. Instead try to spend time thinking about things you can directly influence at this time, such as what your family is going to do together this evening.
h. Contact your health or mental health care provider or a national help line if you need care.
i. SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service). Open 24 hours every day. TTY: 1-800-799-4889
ii. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Help available 24 hours every day at: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); TTY: 1-800-487-4889
iii. 911 for emergency medical care
2. Manage information and get information from reliable sources.
a. While you do want to be informed, a constant stream of bad news can be stressful.
b. Rely on information from reliable sources. For information on COVID-19 and/or wellness, accurate information can be obtained from: