For many of us, we're well into week three or four of social distancing and sheltering-in-place.
So we've got this whole thing down pretty well by now, and our emotions aren't quite as scattered or intense, right? NOT NECESSARILY!
Here's the thing you really need to hear: All of your feelings are normal!
There are so many changes happening on a weekly (or daily) basis, that our feelings are likely going to go through phases. Unfortunately, there's no specific road map when it comes to feelings, especially those of grief.
STAGES OF GRIEF:
The image above helps illustrate how our emotions might ebb and flow through this COVID pandemic. David Kessler, a grief expert who co-authored books with fellow grief expert Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, recently explored the feelings of grief we can expect to feel during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this Harvard Business Review interview, Kessler explored anticipatory grief and anxiety, and the importance of remembering that people don't move through the stages of grief in a linear manner.
What does that mean? Simply put, we can move through these stages, and suddenly find ourselves back at a previous stage. While making your way to acceptance is the ideal goal, that timeline will look different for everyone.
You may feel mentally stronger one day than the next. One week you may feel more motivated than you did the previous week. Recognize that this is normal and expected given the current circumstances, and be more patient and compassionate with yourself and others as we navigate these new, ever-changing waters.
BUT HOW ARE YOU *REALLY* DOING?
Sure, it's important to gain an understanding of expected emotional responses during times of crisis. But do you know what else is important?
Just checking in with one another and genuinely asking: HOW ARE YOU DOING?
So here goes.....
HELPFUL FA COMMUNITY COVID-19 RESOURCES:
And Just Because These Reminders Might Be Helpful....
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!
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