We’re all on the lookout for stress management techniques in 2020.
Any parent could likely write the words that you are about to read. Since March 2020, the lives of everyone, literally everyone, have been turned upside down. The freedoms that we have all come to love and take for granted have gone away. We can’t go out to eat the way we used to, and we can’t even shop the way we used to. People have lost wages if not lost their jobs altogether. And many children can’t even go to school. Children that can go to school are experiencing a completely different classroom than they did just a few months ago. All of this has culminated to create a physical and mental environment where stress is at an all time high.
For parents, in particular, this time of COVID-19 is exceptionally stressful. Trying to manage a household in this new environment is more challenging than ever. Many parents feel like they don’t have time to think or catch their breath. Days now consist of preparing an environment at home where children can learn and stay active and entertained, all while trying to get their work done, and it’s just not easy.
This time of the novel coronavirus requires the implementation of stress management measures. Living in a state where we are continually stressed, can be detrimental to our health. When we are stressed, our bodies suffer. We are more prone to headaches, chest pain, muscle aches, fatigue, irritability, gastrointestinal issues, and a lack of sleep. Thankfully, there are strategies that parents can take to lessen stress and create an environment where they can not only get by but thrive as well.
Prioritize preventive measures such as doctor and pediatric dentist appointments.
This may seem easier said than done, but now that many doctors and dentists are resuming office care, it is time to get back into the rhythm. Many doctors are providing check-ups via Zoom and other video conferencing services. Others are seeing children and high-risk individuals in the office. Most children’s dentists are open and have adopted numerous safety measures to keep patients and practitioners safe.
Though it might feel overwhelming to coordinate these medical and dental visits right now, taking the time to manage preventive care will pay off in the long run. Prioritizing preventive visits can stop a more severe illness from creeping up, causing even more disruption to this new and hectic routine. Your family dentist and family doctor understand what you are experiencing and are here to help.
Five Tips to Help Parents Manage Stress During COVID-19
Parents need to seek strategies that can lessen stress in their lives. Sound like we’re preaching to the choir? Possibly. However, that doesn’t change the necessity of creating reasonable expectations for ourselves and our children to make coping a bit easier.
Take time to seek out stress management techniques that can take the edge off. Here are 5 tips that might be helpful.
1. Incorporate a few minutes of self-care into your busy routine.
Whether you take some time to exercise, call a loved one, or catch up on the latest news, incorporating self-care into your day is critical to your overall health. Self-care can help improve your mood and reduce anxiety, thus reducing stress levels. But it does take conscious effort to make room for activities such as meditation, yoga, exercise, or even curling up with a book! Taking time out can make a big difference to your mental, emotional, and physical health.
2. Take time to get outside.
This was a bit easier during the spring and summer months, but getting outside is essential to easing stress even during the cold weather. Fresh air does a body good. Whether it’s a short walk to the mailbox and back, a brisk walk around the block, or a color-themed scavenger hunt, take some time to get outside and breathe. On warmer days, practice some deep breathing while outside.
3. Make distance learning more manageable.
As distance learning will be the norm for some time to come, you can do a few things to ease the burden. The best thing you can do is find a dedicated space in your home that can be set aside for learning. This might mean repurposing the dining room for a while or cleaning out some basement space. Ensure the area has plenty of lighting (no one learns in a dungeon) and comfortable seating.
Focus on creating a routine rather than a schedule. Trying to do the same thing at the same time every day may add to your stress level. Know that sometimes balls will drop during this time. Teachers are more understanding and patient than ever, and they know that parents are doing their best. Look for a way to tell your child it is time to learn. Sing a song, have a snack, or seek out some activity that indicates that it is time to head to the home classroom.
Allow you and your child to take a brain break periodically. Younger children work best in 30-minute increments. Be sure to shift activities every 20 to 30 minutes to keep your child engaged.
Finally, stay in contact with your children’s teachers. They are working diligently to create lesson plans that can be completed at home. Yet, they want to hear from parents, and many teachers are open to suggestions that can make things easier for everyone. After all, we’re all in this together.
4. There’s an app for that.
Today’s kids love mobile devices and apps. Why not download an application that you and your children can enjoy together. Many of the apps designed for children with autism are especially helpful now to help reduce stress and anxiety in all children. Download an app so that you can practice meditation together or learn some yoga moves. Whatever the app is that you select, you’ll appreciate the variety of apps available to alleviate anxiety.
5. Create a virtual playdate with grandma.
This might be one of the coolest ideas that we have heard of. If your child has a grandparent in a nursing home, the chances are that contact has been pretty limited. Many families have had mini-reunions standing outside the window of their loved one’s room. Other families have been able to work out virtual meetings with their loved ones through the nursing home staff.
These virtual playdates are great for your kids and are fantastic for grandparents too. Have your child tell their grandparent a story. If your child is old enough to read and needs to get in some reading minutes, have them read a chapter out of their book to their loved one on the other end of the screen. This can be a delightful and rewarding experience, sure to bring some laughter and smiles to all involved.
While life has hardly been normal, there are ways we can adapt and adjust to stay balanced and calm amid the ups and downs. Looking after ourselves keeps our mental and physical energies at their peak so we can support the people we love. If you’re ready to start looking after yourself, we’re ready to help you care for your oral health. Feel free to call us and schedule an appointment today.