Written By Dr. Amy Bissada, Psychiatrist at The Ross Center
I typically love going out to feel integrated in the community, meet neighbors, and get fresh air; however when the social distancing movement to flatten the curve came out, it turned the world as we knew it upside down.
I am the main caregiver for my child, so I am intimately familiar with how difficult shouldering full time parenting responsibility can be, especially when you add trying to balance a career on top of it. Depending on the age of your child, different challenges will present themselves at this difficult time. Young babies and toddlers will need more 1:1 attention although they are blissfully ignorant of the stresses that affect our older children and adolescents. Both keeping children entertained and educated is a major challenge in and of itself. Adding in homeschooling requirements, then trying to explain to them what’s going on and why they can’t hang out with their friends & school is cancelled really can be taxing.
It is important to focus on our collective mental and physical health while also paying attention to troublesome signs in both ourselves and loved ones. Help is available. There are many available resources so please do not hesitate to ask for help. Valuable resources are available on the Anxiety and Depression Association (ADAA) website, updated daily HERE. Also, the Child Mind Institute has a trove of suggestions geared specifically for parents HERE.
Exercise and nutrition are essential and can really help with overall wellness, in addition to optimizing mental health during this chaotic time. A good place to start is with exercises that can be done in small spaces at home. Plus many opportunities exist for accessing free on-line fitness and yoga classes, as well as meditations. If possible, it can be helpful to spend time outside (practicing safe social distancing) and listening to the birds in nature. Any effort to keep a semblance of structure in your daily routine can be beneficial.
This is a time for all of us as a global community to come together while we are physically apart, to express gratitude for the blessings in our lives. Journaling can be a powerful tool to express emotions.
Again, if you or a loved one needs professional help, we at the Ross Center are here. All care during this challenging time will be delivered via Zoom video conferencing. Please do not hesitate to ask for help. Evening appointments and immediate availability can expedite the road to recovery.