Resources for Parents

COVID-19 School Closing Emotional Support Links

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These were taken from the Cayuga County Department of Health Facebook page.

Caring for Our Emotional Health During the Coronavirus Pandemic

By: Jeanne Elmer

Social distancing does NOT mean social isolation! Maintain social interactions with others who get you, support you, laugh with you and there is permission to avoid those who bring you down. Positive social connection is the most powerful stress buster. Thankfully, technology can keep us connected while keeping us safe. However, please limit the time you spend on social media and media that purely focuses on the coronavirus. Balance is the key.

Maintain a regular routine. Plan your day. Continue to schedule all the things you would naturally do as much as possible while continuing to maintain safety for yourself and others...planning for meals, preparation of meals, eating together, purposeful relaxation time, cardio/strength building sessions, routine hygiene such as showers, teeth brushing, getting dressed, other activities you can continue at home. Online classes are available for almost anything such as martial arts, exercise and dance routines, cooking, and crafts.

Remember to breathe. As silly as this may sound, learning and practicing relaxation breathing lowers our anxiety and brings us back to our best thinking within minutes. When we breathe deeply and spend more time exhaling, we positively affect our nervous system. There are several free apps to explore, some with guided imagery experiences. A simple exercise is deeply inhaling and spending twice as much time on the exhale by pursing the lips, 5 to 10 times.

Make crafts, start and finish a house project or other project. Use this protected time (that we very seldom have) to get something done!

And, please keep in mind the following:

· This, too, shall pass. There will be a vaccine. This will end. We won’t be social distancing forever.

· Self-care is crucial always and even more so now! Get creative with exercise, nutrition, connection with others, relaxation, time alone, gratitude focusing, hobbies, activities that bring you peace, joy, humor. And by the way…Practicing needed boundaries is good self-care.

· Don’t judge yourself for any feelings that come up. All feelings are normal reactions to this unpredictable, anxiety producing season we are in. Anger, irritability, lack of patience, sadness, lack of motivation, reactivity, too much or too little of any emotion…. all normal. We need to be forgiving of ourselves and others.

· Lastly, we will get through this. The unpredictability of this and our warranted anxiety puts us and sometimes keeps us in a fear place. Try to spend time trusting in our individual and collective resilience as members of this human race. Historically, we have made it through wars, pandemics, disasters, recessions and a severe depression. We are programmed to adapt, to heal, to support and care for each other. In addition, each of us have survived our own hardships, contributing to our own strengths. We will survive this. We will recover and rebuild. And we will do it together.

Jeanne Elmer, MSW is a counselor and mental health consultant with 35-plus years of experience providing support and education to individuals and groups experiencing distress and trauma. She continues to chair the Onondaga Community Trauma Task Force, a group of dedicated individuals addressing trauma awareness and needs in the local community.

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