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Coping During Crisis

The world is in crisis.  Medically, economically and socially the world is struggling.  The Covid-19 pandemic has led to widespread devastation on multiple levels and has affected everyone directly or indirectly.  The world is in crisis…but do we have to be? 

Being a healthy parent and having healthy children is not only about the absence of disease.  It encompasses a complete state of well-being, including emotional well-being.  Despite what is happening locally and globally, children and adults need to develop effective coping mechanisms.  This current reality can be depressing, anxiety producing and overwhelming, however, each of us can change the way that we respond to it.

  1. Resist Retreat
    1. Try your best not to be blissfully ignorant.  Acknowledge the problems we are all facing.  Talk to children about the negative impacts of the pandemic on the way that they are living and encourage them to express their feelings with you.
    1. You can be informed without being consumed.  Take breaks from the reports and headlines and monitor how much and what type mass media children are exposed to. 
  • Grow more Gratitude
    • Research shows that grateful people are happy people, as we seem to know intuitively.  Everyday ask your child to say or write 1 to 5 things that they are grateful for, and you do it as well.  By the end of the first week, your original negative and stressed perspectives will have to started to shift. 
    • This isn’t a cure all, BUT it is a strategy to mitigate some of the destructive emotions that bombard even young children.
  • Do a Distraction
    • Use this time to develop a skill, hone a talent and practice a good habit.  For children this can range from learning to ride a bike or skate, to helping plant seeds; for the adults this can be as simple as drinking more water daily or as complex as starting a small business.
    • Go outside whenever you can.  Sunlight and fresh air can lead to hormonal changes that positively affect mood and sleep.
    • The idea is that if you are actively doing, you will have less and less time to dwell or despair.
  • Catch up on Care
    • You can’t take care of anyone unless you take care of yourself first.  This is a hard truth to accept for most parents.  Make yourself a priority in order to give your children your best.  This may mean some moments of solitude, non-child friendly TV, or a pedicure. 
    • Whatever it takes to ‘fill your cup’ do it, THEN pour back into your children.
  • Fertilize Faith
    • This is paramount.  Make the time to pray, meditate and reflect individually and collectively. Teach children to hope for a better tomorrow and a brighter today.  When your children see that you are optimistic in spite of the many challenges they will follow suit. 
    • Cultivate their core values and help them to focus on the important things in life. 
Dr. Lashan McKenzie-Boyd

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