Protecting your Mental health and families during Covid19.
As we all struggle to adapt to this new reality of social distancing, face masks, and the uncertainty of what the Covid19 pandemic brings with it, we are also faced with a pandemic all its own- the struggles, duties, and commitments of caring for our loved ones-
On any regular day child care, elder care, and raising a family is already demanding, having to do so in isolation adds an extra layer of intensity to those demands, bringing with it its’ own sets of difficulties both mentally and emotionally.
It is expected that cases of abuse will surge during the shelter in place orders which many states
(and countries) are observing due to the rapid spread of Covid19. Volatility or impatience towards those we love and care about can be triggered due to many circumstances such as lack of personal social connectedness, different forms of economic strife, or mental health challenges.
Being the best parent and care-giver we can involve taking steps to strengthen our family and finding support when we need it. Parenting isn’t something we have to do alone. When we have the knowledge, skills, and resources we need, only then we can offer the proper, healthy, and safe care our loved ones need.
As adults we have the power to end abuse on all fronts- Physically, Mentally, Verbally, Financially, and Emotionally. Let’s take stock of our mental state as it relates to the loved ones in our lives, especially our children. Abuse is not about a short temper but a desire to be in control and hold power over someone.
How can we find power together instead?
Working together with our friends, families, and using resources to create a nourishing environment for the children in our lives while we are at home can play a part in building communities and hope in children and families.
If you or someone you know feels vulnerable that they may pose a risk to hurt themselves or their loved ones during these uncertain times, please know you are not alone! Help is available!
Here are some Guidelines & Tips I collaborated on with Sakhi.org to help navigate what so many are going through silently and to understand the effects of childhood emotional, physical, and sexual abuse and what you can do to stop this abuse pandemic.
- Self Care- On an airplane, the suggestion is that in case of emergency you put your mask on first before helping anyone else. In our daily lives the same concept applies. We are all figuring this out and getting anxious is normal, but if you are feeling overwhelmed, take a few deep breaths, a walk outside if you can, sometimes even a good crying session helps. We cannot take control of any situation or take care of anyone else if we are unable to do so for ourselves first.
- Try to keep routines in place by following a schedule. Whether it is our children’s school schedule or our own, time management during the day helps with feeling more productive gives a sense of accomplishment, and maintains some sense of order.
- Stay connected to family and friends even if it has to be Virtual – Keeping our support network strong during these times are even more important in regulating our mood and staying grounded. It helps with keeping the family bond and feeling less stressed.
- Understand that children may be having tantrums can be doing so because of nervousness about what’s happening around them. Be patient and spend time calming them and address their concerns in a comforting way.
Ask for Help! If there are other adults in the home who can share responsibilities, a spouse or grandparent have them pitch in. If not, reach out to a relative or friend who can, even if it is just to chat when you feel overwhelmed or to have a chat with your child while you take a break. The goal is to stay sane and safe.
Know something? See something?…. Then say something! If you suspect any kind of abuse, please use the resources below:
- Let children know it is Okay to Tell! and they will be believed!
- Report to the State Central Register Child Abuse & Maltreatment Hotline – (800) 342-3720
- Call Sakhi.org to speak to an advocate with more experience
- Mustard seed http://www.mustardseedforensic.com/mission.html# – For folks who recognize a problem in their behavior or have been convicted.
- Day One – https://www.dayoneny.org/who-is-day-one
- Pod Mapping for safety planning – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-QfMn1DE6ymhKZMpXN1LQvD6Sy_HSnnCK6gTO7ZLFrE/edit
Healing for survivors