By now, phrases like "social distancing" and "flatten the curve" are commonplace due to the current Coronavirus pandemic.
Bombarded with information, constant changes, and a world that's currently in a state of flux, anticipatory anxiety and worry are bound to be on the rise. Please know that you're not alone! Increased anxiety, worry and stress are natural responses in this situation, due to the unknown nature of what we're experiencing.
(NOTE: Experiencing anxiety and worry is expected, but when it becomes overwhelming, causing an inability to function or navigate daily routines, it may be best to reach out for support from a licensed clinical counselor or psychologist.)
Rather than trying to eliminate these natural worries, the goal is to work on accepting them, managing them, and navigating through them the best you can.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed in response to the current situation, remember the basic key components of self-care right now may include:
If you are looking for resources that may help navigate these feelings, check out the roundup of links below. (I'll be updating this list as new resources are available)
Broken down by category or focus, these links lead to insightful information and tips to help you adjust to the unknown, manage the associated feelings/thoughts, and plan for the weeks ahead.
Coping Strategies for Stress & Anxiety:
Help for Teens/Adults:
Help for Those with Chronic Health Conditions:
Helping Healthcare Workers:
Navigating New Temporary Routines:
Creating Social-Emotional Connection & Resilience:
Podcasts on COVID-19 Anxiety, Stress & Changes:
Webinars/Videos on COVID-19 Anxiety, Stress & Changes:
(Led by psychologists & mental healthcare professionals)
When a child receives a food allergy diagnosis, it's common for parents to feel overwhelmed. Worrying thoughts may fill parents' minds with doubt and concern about how (and if) they will be able to prepare their food allergic child well enough to navigate this world on their one day.
It's important for parents to remember that time plays a key factor here!
It takes 9 months for a baby to develop and be ready for the outside world.
A kindergartner has over a decade of schooling to prepare himself/herself for college or work.
Similarly, food allergic kids acquire their skills over time, learning and applying them during each phase of development.
GALINKSY'S SIX STAGES OF PARENTHOOD
The childhood stages of development can provide parents with benchmarks to help assess their own child's growth and progress. While this is useful information, it doesn't necessarily help parents understand their role at each stage of development.
Ellen Galinsky, president and cofounder of the Families and Work Institute, conducted research that led to the development of the six stages of parenting. These six distinct stages offers parents a framework to help them understand not only what's happening during that age range, but what their tasks and goals might be.
Taking this information one step further, I created the image below as part of a food allergy parenting webinar I presented in 2019, which includes a basic overview of the food allergic parent's tasks for each stage of parenthood. Additionally, I added descriptive titles (in bold) for each stage to help highlight the parenting role for each stage.
how is a parenting framework helpful?
While the parental task list in the previous image seems simplistic, and certainly would include more than is listed above, this framework can help parents assess things such as:
A framework such as this is a helpful reminder that as parents, the goal isn't to teach kids every skill they need right away. A child's age, stage of development, and personality helps guide when and how to teach necessary life skills.
It's also a reminder that what parents teach their children in one stage sets the foundation for teaching the skills within the next stage of development and parenting. Kindergarteners managing food allergies build upon the basic skills parents have taught them as preschoolers. Food allergic high schoolers are learning additional skills and practicing strategies needed for them to develop into young adults that know how to manage their own healthcare needs.
So remember parents....
Rome wasn't built in a day, nor is a fully-prepared young adult managing their food allergies. Use the gift of time and reminders of your parenting role at each stage of your child's development to help guide your skill-building activities.....and hopefully help your worried mind believe that you can do this!
A New Role For Me!
In addition to providing counseling services to women, young adults and those navigating life transitions, for the last couple of years in particular, I've focused on food allergy counseling - a clinical niche that I've been helping to highlight and expand.
To that end, I've been writing about, taking part in interviews, and developing therapeutic content focused on navigating the psychosocial aspects of life with food allergies. I'm also proud to be an allied healthcare member of both AAAAI and ACAAI, serving as a member of ACAAI's allied health committee.
Therefore, when the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Team (FAACT) asked me to join their Leadership Team as their Vice President of Behavioral Health, I was honored to jump on board!
With a passion for helping the food allergy community develop resilience and an empowered mindset, this position will allow me to create content that will be unique in nature and more widely distributed. These resources, which will come in various formats, will be useful not only for individuals and families managing food allergies, but also for allergists looking for reputable psychosocial resources for their clients. (Resources created for FAACT are reviewed by FAACT's Medical Advisory Board).
A couple of questions I've received since I announced my new position....
What projects do I have planned in this role for 2020?
You'll just have to stay tuned! But trust me, they'll be useful.
Will I still be seeing clients at my private practice?
You bet! Like many in the healthcare fields, I enjoy a mix of clinical work, both client facing and non-client facing in nature. In my private practice, in addition to working with those managing allergies, I also focus on providing support to women, young adults, those navigating life transitions, and those with other chronic health conditions. I'm lucky to be able to have the best of both worlds between my new FAACT position and my private practice.
How can I contact you for FAACT-specific matters?
You can email me directly at Tamara.Hubbard@FoodAllergyAwareness.org, as well as follow my FAACT profile on Facebook for FAACT content and event updates. I'll still be sharing content via my professional Twitter and Instagram accounts, as well as the Food Allergy Counselor Facebook page, and my private practice Facebook page.
Will you still be updating the Food Allergy Counselor Directory & website?
Rest assured, I'll still be updating and enhancing The Food Allergy Counselor Directory and website, so be sure to check back often.
Recent additions to the Food Allergy Counselor Directory include listings in Texas and Georgia, with more on the way. There have also been more resources added to the Food Allergy Mental Health Resource page as well, so be sure to hop on over there, too.
Tamara Hubbard, MA, LCPC
Follow on Twitter or Instagram, or on Facebook at FABHA & the Food Allergy Counselor Directory to get updates on the FAC Directory, blog or resources.
Connect with Tamara
on Facebook via
Tamara Hubbard, LCPC counseling page
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