With all the changes that have been occurring in our environments our minds have entered survival mode. As our community is placed in shelter-in-place, families across the board have had to quickly adjust and get acclimated to many new challenges like working from home, sharing close quarters, home-based schooling. These are just a few examples of the adaptations we have had to maneuver within that past few weeks.
What do all these changes mean for our mental health? Sitting with the feeling of uncertainty brings high levels of anxiety and stress. Anxiety can show up in many ways. People can feel anxiety both physically or in their bodies and/or mentally:
- Muscle tightness
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Spacing out or fogging out
- Problems sitting still or body restlessness
Additionally, children and adolescents may show and feel their anxiety in different ways. Signs to look out for are:
- Behavioral issues
- Changes in Play
- Lack of impulse
- Feeling overwhelmed or feeling many emotions at once
As our day to day lives slow down it may feel overwhelming to sit with our emotions. It is important to remember that leaning on one another during this time is important. Being open and candid about our thoughts and feelings can help those around us understand how to help. Additionally, children and adolescents mirror what they see, and it can be helpful to add context to the behaviors they notice. It is important to practice and model patience and self-acceptance. During this time, our minds are preoccupied with changes and worry for the future, it may feel tiresome to complete the same level of productivity we had endured previously. Remember to be kind to yourself and show compassion for yourself just as you would to someone you love and care about. It is important to be easy and remember that each day will feel different and there will be ebbs and flows with emotions felt throughout the days and weeks we spend becoming absorbed in our new world.
This blog was written by Natasha Griffin, Marriage and Family Therapy Trainee. Natasha is supervised by Danielle Fitch LMFT #94672