Tips to Navigate these Challenging Times
By Leslie Wiss, LPC
Director of Trauma-Informed Services
Greetings! As we continue to navigate these challenging times, let’s take a little time to reflect on a few things . . .
Routine helps keep us regulated. There’s so much we can’t control right now, day to day or even hour by hour. That’s why it’s so important to keep our routines and even develop new ones to give us the structure we often need. Start with the simple routines you have control over, such as mealtime, what to watch on movie night, or getting dressed each day. Because the news can be especially unsettling right now, if watching the nightly broadcast is part of your routine, do something regulating (that calms or destresses you) afterward.
Acknowledge your emotions & ask for help. Everyone – our children, partners, neighbors, colleagues – is dealing with shifting emotions right now both personally and professionally. Things like being isolated from others, the uncertainty of when all this will end, the fear of getting sick, new health and safety requirements that restrict our travel all play havoc with our emotions. When the pressure feels high, reach out to someone who is in a calmer place – for support and connectedness. Frustration with how to homeschool your child may be the reason for phoning a friend, but chances are you’ll feel more centered after having a little time to process the situation and let off steam. Your courage to ask for help is more important now than ever. Plus, there’s great emotional benefit for you when you take the time to be empathetic to others.
Physical distance, not social distance. Making connections with others is the greatest buffer to stress! Although we must physically distance ourselves from others, look for ways to keep making social and emotional connections. Expect that this will look different for the time being, and probably will take a little more work. Take advantage of family mealtimes in the home to check in on everyone’s day. Schedule virtual play dates or happy hours. Play board games, make family videos and sing karaoke. Step up your check-in calls to elderly relatives or neighbors. Make it a point to intentionally connect with at least one person each day.
We are all in this fight together and we will get through these difficult times! And, we’ll emerge stronger – as individuals, as families and as a community.
Leslie Wiss is director of trauma-informed services at Great Circle and a licensed professional counselor.
As a behavioral health nonprofit, Great Circle provides a wide variety of in-person and virtual/online therapeutic services to children and families throughout the Midwest, including education, 24/7 care, home- and community based programs, and crisis support. Learn more at www.greatcircle.org.