Jamie McCabe

Some ideas to help cope during this pandemic:

These are challenging times we are facing as we all try to navigate our way through this global
pandemic. It is to be expected that many will experience feelings of anxiety, depression, anger,
frustration, confusion and helplessness. Below I will share some recommendations that can help
adults and kids alike to cope during these unprecedented times.

-Maintain structure and routine. This does not mean that it needs to be the same routine you
had before. If kids are out of school they do not need to wake up as early as they would if they
were in school and the same goes for parents who may be out of work or working from home
and have more flexibility. What is important is maintaining a routine in regards to when you and
the kids go to bed and when you wake up to make sure everyone is getting the right amount of
sleep. It is also important to have realistic and reasonable expectations or plans of how to spend
your day.

-Do what works for you and your family. If your kids respond well to set hours of school work
and are able to complete it all at once and then get free time then do that. If you know your kids
may need breaks during the day then schedule those in. Try to be reasonable and
understanding with your expectations, not only of your child but also of yourself.
Be creative with education too- not all learning comes from books and worksheets. Have them
help you in the kitchen, go on nature walks (as long as they are in areas that do not have a lot of
other people so you can keep your distance).

-Keep physically active. Walking through your neighborhood with your kids? Try and create a
game out of it- have them look for certain things (example: how many basketball hoops in
driveways, how many red cars are parked on the street). Little ones love when you turn anything
into a game! If you do not have kids and are taking a walk alone try looking for things in your
neighborhood you may have missed; details on the houses, signs of spring in nature. By
focusing on the details around you it helps you to be more mindful, staying present, which can
help reduce stress. If you prefer to do workouts at home there are many apps and online videos
out there focusing on a variety of workouts including yoga and meditation that can be a great
stress relief.

-Eat healthy. When stuck inside most of the day it can be easy to turn to snacking out of
boredom rather than hunger. This is where structure and routine can be another benefit. Plan
your meals and snacks (This helps reduce trips to the grocery store as well). Focus on making
healthy choices to fuel your body and mind.

-Limit how much or how often you are reading about Covid-19. With new information coming out
constantly it can be difficult to take a step back and focus on something else but it is important
to do so. It is still, however, important to stay informed in this ever changing world so set a time
of day or a time limit on when you check the news for updates. Most importantly, make sure the
information you are reading is accurate and from a reliable source. I recommend the Center for
Disease Control at cdc.gov.

-Stay connected while keeping your distance. We are lucky to have technology literally at our
finger-tips these days. Call, text, face-time and a slew of social messaging apps are available to
keep in touch with friends and families. Also, stay connected with your mental health provider.
Therapists are now able to provide sessions using phone or video chats and during this
pandemic most insurances are temporarily covering these services so you can safely do
therapy from your home. Contact your therapist to see which services are available for you.
-Lastly, give yourself a break. These are challenging times and everyone is learning how to
navigate it together. Having unrealistic expectations of yourself or others will only add to your
stress. Try to find positives in each day and focus your attention on your successes.