The COVID-19 outbreak is bringing a lot of fast changes with it and with all of the uncertainty out there right now, anxiety can sneak up on you. Dr. Joshua Stein and Dr. Anastasia Ristau from PrairieCare join us with ways to recognize it and ways to deal with that anxiety.
1) How to recognize different levels of anxiety for you and your family
-Children may present with body concerns, stomachaches, diarrhea, headaches, outbursts, meltdowns, challenging behaviors
-Monitor levels of irritability
-Excess alcohol consumption, changes with food consumption (eating more or eating less)
2) How do you know if it’s time to be concerned and seek professional help?
-Warning signs: changes to sleep, decline in hygiene, profound irritability, “giving up”
-Thoughts of self-harm or
-Any suicidal thoughts of any kind
-New sever conflict in a partner/spousal relationship
**If you are asking yourself this question let a professional help determine this
**The recent changes to telehealth allow rapid in home access
3) How do you stay informed without getting overwhelmed?
-Choose a reputable news source
-Set limits for consuming information (e.g., only read/watch newsources for 30 minutes 2x a day)
-Focus on what you can control; i.e meals, exercise, next book
-It is easy to slip into catastrophic ideas. This will happen. If it is interfering with parenting, please reach out
4) What kind of toll can it take on you to “be strong” for your family and how can that be managed?
-Take time at the end of the day to “Emote/Sound Off” with another adult. i.e. partner/friend/coworker
-Commonly we end the day at the TV; Instead make time to share struggle/grief/loss/laugh
-Know that it is healthy and important for your kids to see you experiencing normal emotions sometimes
5) Is there anything you can do right now to help – unplugging from the news, taking a walk, etc.
-Connectedness is important
-Don’t’ just text. Facetime or call family, your children’s friends, teachers, coworkers
-Let your child be the expert and teach you; learn about “Sound Cloud”, “fortnite”; “Roblox”; Learn a “Tik Tok” dance
-Dance to “Koo Koo Kangaroo”, “Go Noodle” with your children. Have them share their favorite video
-Create! Art, dominoes, a positive yard sign, school pride, face paint
-It’s ok to relax rules. Many parents feel guilt about children and excess screen time. Let yourself off the hook
-Get outside: Use your firepit; create a scavenger hunt, Build a Scooter Ramp; Use those Amazon boxes to build a fort
-Take 5 minute mini-breaks to pause, breathe and focus upon gratitude
If you are a patient or family member or friend in need of immediate assistance:
- Disaster Distress Helpline
Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 800-273-8255 or Chat with Lifeline
- Crisis Textline
Text TALK to 741741