Greetings! Two weeks into this quarantine and the new normal seems to be settling in finally. At least for me, it’s been a moment of exploration and stretching (mentally, emotionally, and physically) way beyond my comfort zones. I’d be lying, though, if I said it hasn’t taken its toll on my mental wellness.
In the early moments of the quarantine, a dear friend posted a list of Mental Wellness Tips for Quarantine. The list was compiled/written by Eileen Feliciano – a school and clinical child psychologist with a private practice in Brooklyn. It contains some very solid advice. She advised in the original post that “…I can’t control a lot of what is going on right now, but I can contribute this. ITS LONG!”
I didn’t want this to get lost. Because it’s long, I will post five tips per day in reverse order, so there will be a chronology. (If you’re joining in on this after the original post (#5), hop to the next post to see the rest.)
I hope you find this helpful. I wish you all ease.
Mental Wellness Tips for Quarantine from Eileen Feliciano (Part #3)
11. Expect behavioral issues in children, and respond gently. We are all struggling with disruption in routine, none more than children, who rely on routines constructed by others to make them feel safe and to know what comes next. Expect increased anxiety, worries and fears, nightmares, difficulty separating or sleeping, testing limits, and meltdowns. Do not introduce major behavioral plans or consequences at this time—hold stable and focus on emotional connection.
12. Focus on safety and attachment. We are going to be living for a bit with the unprecedented demand of meeting all work deadlines, homeschooling children, running a sterile household, and making a whole lot of entertainment in confinement. We can get wrapped up in meeting expectations in all domains, but we must remember that these are scary and unpredictable times for children. Focus on strengthening the connection through time spent following their lead, through physical touch, through play, through therapeutic books, and via verbal reassurances that you will be there for them in this time.
13. Lower expectations and practice radical self-acceptance. This idea is connected with #12. We are doing too many things in this moment, under fear and stress. This does not make a formula for excellence. Instead, give yourself what psychologists call “radical self acceptance”: accepting everything about yourself, your current situation, and your life without question, blame, or pushback. You cannot fail at this—there is no roadmap, no precedent for this, and we are all truly doing the best we can in an impossible situation.
14. Limit social media and COVID conversation, especially around children. One can find tons of information on COVID-19 to consume, and it changes minute to minute. The information is often sensationalized, negatively skewed, and alarmist. Find a few trusted sources that you can check in with consistently, limit it to a few times a day, and set a time limit for yourself on how much you consume (again 30 minutes tops, 2-3 times daily). Keep news and alarming conversations out of earshot from children—they see and hear everything, and can become very frightened by what they hear.
15. Notice the good in the world, the helpers. There is a lot of scary, negative, and overwhelming information to take in regarding this pandemic. There are also a ton of stories of people sacrificing, donating, and supporting one another in miraculous ways. It is important to counter-balance the heavy information with the hopeful information.
May all beings have happiness.
May all beings have joy.
May all beings be free from suffering.
Deep love and gratitude to you all.