By: Cathy Malmon, LMFT,LICSW

The Covid-19 virus has impacted every inch of our daily lives and those of our family, friends and community. We are having to adjust to meeting basic needs; shopping for supplies, staying connected, educating our children, working in a different way or having partners and children home, 24/7 togetherness!

All of this change can and fear of the unknown, create strong emotions in adults and our children. When we are anxious, our ability to function as we normally would can be difficult. Our natural fight or flight emotions kick in. Check what defensive behaviors kick into gear for you. That Drill Sergeant persona might be handy in a military maneuver but will probably not be useful with your family. Taking that first deep breath, stretching or simply sitting still for a few seconds will allow your brain to function. There are many excellent resources on phones, computers and iPads.

CREATE ROUTINE

All of our schedules are adjusting or have changed. Children are home from school, families are working from home or possibly working different shifts. Gyms, places of worship are closed. The need to create routine is important. As much as possible, keep a predictable schedule. Meals, reading, cleaning study, exercise are important basics. Keep bedtimes for yourself and family members on a predictable schedule. Sleep and good sleep allow our bodies to refresh, rejuvenate and work well. The routine that is created now will provide an important structure.

CONTINUE CONNECTIONS

The way we interact with our family, friends, community has required change. The element of personal presence has changed for us It is different. Connections can happen in a different manner. Facetime, Hangout, Skype and probably more have group options. Even Netflix allows you to watch shows with your friends via a virtual mode. Churches are streaming online, virtual museums, live music and educational tools are available. There are grandparents reading to their grandchildren online, virtual book clubs, virtual happy hours. Technology has provided many options.

CARE FOR YOURSELF AND LOVED ONES

You have been social distancing for a few weeks, you have the kids set up for distance learning and your work space at home is established. Now take the time to care for yourself again. Spend some time doing things that bring you joy; reading, walking, ride a bike, cooking. Settle into your new normal and find ways to make this an experience that you learn and grow from. Reach out via the phone or video conferencing to your friends that you have not seen for a while, check in on your neighbors. Social distancing should not mean social isolation.

CONSIDER CHANGE

This virus has dealt our notion of routine and predictability a difficult hand. But, as in card games, we have options. Play the hand, fold or get new cards. Being able to think on our feet, become resilient, and find the silver linings, could be the very education that is necessary at this time.

Who says it’s too late to learn? Not me!

Learn more about Telehealth on how you can continue to receive mental health care while socially isolated.