Hi Brave Friends,
Is your daughter starting to get more concerned and anxious about the news of the Corona Virus? Are you starting to feel more concerned and anxious yourself and having a hard time calming her worries and yours?
That totally makes sense especially when we hear the words Pandemic.
I have several coaching clients that are dealing with worry and teenage anxiety about the virus. They have expressed concerns about themselves getting sick, and worried about a grandparent or parent getting sick since they have heard that older adults are impacted more by the virus. They are getting information in bits and pieces and it may not all be accurate.
If you have someone that is sensitive and does a lot of "What if..." worrying this can be hard for them and for you!
Dr. Lisa Damour shared some wonderful tips in an article published on March 11th in the New York Times entitled 5 Ways to Help Teens Manage Anxiety About The Corona Virus
Dr. Damour's 5 tips are:
1. Normalize the anxiety. Let your child or teen know that it is normal to feel anxious about something in which we need to keep ourselves safe.
2. Offer perspective for your child. Kids and teens often overestimate the dangers or underestimate their ability to protect themselves. If your daughter is getting nervous about school closures or point out that a lot of the school closures are a way to help prevent the spreading of the virus.
Help your daughter focus on what she can do to keep herself safe- cleaning hands, avoiding touching face, avoiding anyone coughing, and getting enough sleep.
3. Shift the spotlight for your daughter. She may need some help in focusing on something different. Kids always feel better when they are helping someone and maybe your daughter can find a way to help someone in the neighborhood? She could read a book to some younger neighbors, make a craft and give the finished product to someone, make something to mail to a relative that is not close by, gather food items to donate to the local shelter or food bank. Get out into nature and away from the news.
4. Encourage distractions- whatever we fixate on we grow! Be aware of how much you and your daughter are hearing about the virus in the news.
Does your daughter use a device and is she checking in and getting updates on the virus frequently? Sometimes we think that the more information we get the less worried we will feel, but that is not true. Clear information helps people feel better and can reduce anxiety whereas ambiguous information can create more concerns and feelings of anxiety. Avoid excessive exposure to media coverage.
5. Our kids are our emotional mirrors- if you are an anxious parent you most likely have an anxious child. Tend to your needs and be aware of your triggers. Self-care is not being selfish and is something important to role model to our children.
When we don't always know what is going on it can make us feel more on edge and this can cause us to react more harshly to our kids. Focus on what you can control. Do what helps you feel a sense of safety. Spend time outside, even if your avoiding crowds. Engage in mindfulness activities. Reach out to others if you feel you need more support or if your daughter needs more support.Here are some resources for Mental Health and Coping with Corona Virus;
Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19
What Coronavirus fears are doing to people with anxiety disorders
Pandemic Panic: These 5 Tips Can Help You Regain Your Control
Video to help manage Corona Virus anxiety
Mental Health Resources for Dealing with Corona Virus
Let me know how you and your daughter are doing!