How to Handle Your Stress during the Pandemic

mother under intense stress

COVID-19. How many times has this crossed your mind today? There is no doubt about it — this is a stressful time, and looking out for yourself and your child is one of the most important things you can do. Here are three ways to manage and improve the overall quality of life in your home. 

Set Limits

In today’s constantly connected world, the news is always available. This can be detrimental to your mental health once you pass the point of being well-informed and find yourself saturated. Sticking to 30 minutes of news in the morning and another 30 minutes in the evening can help with that. Remember that even if your child isn’t watching the news, they are probably overhearing it.  

Illness and death are two hot topics, and two very scary things for young kids. Be prepared to explain what’s happening in a way your child will understand, and validate any upset by acknowledging that this is, in fact, a tough time. Most importantly — if you find yourself struggling, please reach out for help. There is always mental health support available along with many other resources to help you through this. 

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Follow a Realistic Routine

Everyone’s lives have been turned upside down in some way, shape or form over the last couple of months. The life you were accustomed to is probably much different now, and chances are these changes to your life have hit your family pretty hard. How do you think your child is doing? Instead of getting up in the morning and heading to daycare or school, many kids are finding themselves home every day without the ability to play with friends, see their grandparents, or head to the library for story time.  

Maybe you’re still working, and you’re stressed out over keeping up with the required remote learning from your child’s school. Whatever it is, if you do one thing… make sure you set a realistic routine and stick to it. Routines make children feel safe and can help to remove any potential anxieties or fear over the unknown. 

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Don’t Push It

During stressful times, it’s common to want an immediate solution or plan set in place to do everything “right”. This is where you need to remind yourself that nobody expects perfection – especially at a time like this. So if you’re stressing yourself out with trying to nail the parenting gig right now, you owe it to yourself and your entire family to step back and lower your expectations. This is not a normal time. Everything that used to be easy is most definitely not.  

Things that never occurred to you before are surely occurring to you now. Your child will be okay if there’s a little extra screen time or if your meal plan goes out the window and you serve chicken nuggets twice in one week. This train of thought goes for your child, too – especially if they’re in some sort of school. Teachers everywhere are absolutely rocking the world of remote learning, but don’t expect your child to be the same student at home with you as they are at school. It’s okay if they don’t want to join a Zoom meeting. It’s okay if your preschooler digs in their heels over practicing their letters, or if your first grader just doesn’t feel like reading. Trust that things will fall into place eventually. Your child will adapt and once school starts again, academics will be more consistent. 

This is something that nobody expected. As a parent, you’re working overtime to keep things on an even keel… it’s no small feat. Pay attention to how you’re feeling because that will trickle down to your child and set the tone. There is always room for improvement no matter who you are, and this is as good of a time as any to make some adjustments.  

nanny and happy girl
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Emily Burton is a freelance writer interested in healthy living, family life, and interior design.  Emily’s writing interests include: life hacks, travel tips, family activities, cooking, health and fitness, do it yourself, working from home, and budgeting. She has called the greater Phoenix area home her whole life and enjoys the everyday craziness at home with her husband and two sons. 

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