Anxiety Tamers for a COVID-19 World
Anxiety tamers for a COVID-19 world. Who would have thought, 6 months ago, that a post title like this one would be commonplace? Not me and not today’s guest blogger, Liz Matheis. Yet here she is with 3 simple and practical anxiety tamers for a COVID-19 world.
COVID-19 rocked all of our worlds – and not in a good way. Many of us were already anxious, and this has added a new dimension to our daily life. Nobody wants to feel this tense and scared all the time. Our children, teens and young adults look to us, their parents, as guides for their reactions and interpretations of this pandemic. I’s important that we gain a handle on our reactions and create consistency and predictability for ourselves and our children. These 3 anxiety tamers for a COVID-19 world can help you do so.
#1: Find a Routine and Stick to It
In times like these, it’s very easy to change the routines and general rules about screen time, bedtime, wake time, snacks or whatever else. I urge you to maintain a similar schedule from day to day. Set a wake up time, a time for lunch (perhaps the same as your child’s school schedule), screen time and bedtime. If you can, try to mimic your child’s school schedule by having periods of time during which certain activities will take place.
It’s very easy for our children to be entertained by an iPad, television or computer, but stick to time limits. Create a visual schedule with times or durations for each activity and follow it throughout the day. Build downtime for you as well as your child so you aren’t overwhelmed.
Stick to your new or revised routine so that your child can rely on the familiar amidst the unfamiliar. Making changes takes another element of your child’s life and makes it even rockier. Don’t feel bad and don’t offer too many exceptions or special treats to make this time easier for your child. That can make this situation confusing and anxiety-provoking.
#2: Have Fun
As you stay open to your child’s difficulty with this change in schedule, try to embrace the extra time you have with your child by doing something fun together. It’s easy to be overwhelmed as you are parent, teacher and therapist right now. Use this time to bake together, play a board game and prepare meals together. Make the most of this time that we do have in our homes with our families, and have fun!
#3: Keep Anxiety Out of the Mix
Your child sense your anxiety about changes in routine or your thoughts about the coronavirus, so take some deep breaths and incorporate yoga, meditation, or walks into your day to manage your anxiety.
Turn off the news. Avoid discussing the latest numbers of people diagnosed, the shortage of disinfecting products, or anything else in front of your children. If your child asks questions, answer just the question and don’t expand. Don’t offer statistics, numbers and don’t share your fears. A little bit of a response may be enough to satisfy your child.
As humans, we are creatures of habit. Many of us thrive on routine and familiarity and dread a change. These 3 anxiety tamers for a COVID-19 world can help your family thrive and deal with change. I am sending all parents everywhere good health vibes, prayers and patience!
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By Liz Matheis
Dr. Liz Matheis is a clinical psychologist and school psychologist in Parsippany, NJ. She offers support, assessments, and advocacy for children who are managing Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, learning disabilities, and behavioral difficulties, as well as their families. She is also a contributor to several popular magazines. Visit www.psychedconsult.com for more information.
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