2020 is a year of change for everyone. As soon as you get used one thing, things change again, and the sense of uncertainty is stressful even without fear of the virus itself. If you’re feeling uneasy about the unknown or worried about how you’re going to balance it all, here are some tips to cope:
Acknowledge Change & Give up Control
Don’t fight change, deal with it. Denial is a powerful force, but stepping outside of it and saying, “Things are changing, and it is okay” puts you back in a power position. After all, you can’t control the outside world, but you can find ways to ease stress or put things in perspective. Understand your role and manage it to the best of your ability. For example, if you’re concerned about keeping your kids focused through online learning, there are small things you can do to streamline the process. Make a list of potential solutions and put a plan in place.
Celebrate the Positives
It may not be easy, but focusing on the positive helps you manage change. While the positive aspects of a situation may not be obvious, seek them out, even if they’re small. For example, instead of focusing on how your children aren’t building social skills with online learning, celebrate that they’re learning to be more independent. Make the best of any new situation and help your kids do the same.
Keep a Regular Schedule
The more change that is happening, the more important it is to keep your family on a regular schedule. Tasks and times that stay consistent, like eating breakfast every morning at 8 a.m., provides an anchor. An anchor is a reminder that some things are still the same, giving your brain a little bit of a rest. It may also help to write down a routine or schedule and keep it in sight. It’s one less thing for your brain to remember.
When change happens, we tend to reach for junk food. Eating carbs and sugar boosts serotonin, a brain chemical that’s depleted when you undergo stress. It’s okay to treat yourself and your kids with comfort foods in moderation, but you should prioritize keeping yourself and your family as healthy as possible. Plan meals, snack options, and time for exercise. You can even get the kids involved in meal planning and prep.
Allow Venting, but to a Point
Venting can be helpful, but if you and your family are solely venting, the feeling of frustration is contagious. Gear the conversation toward action: What can we do to make things better? When people brainstorm together, creativity is contagious as well.
We‘re going through a stressful time, and it’s okay to ask for help. Determine where you need support and start talking. Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or even a therapist to help you cope. LifeStance Health offers in-person or Telehealth counseling appointments that can help with everything from parenting to managing anxiety.
Remember, we’re in this together. Stay positive, stay healthy, get creative, and remember, this too shall pass.