By Hannah Moskat, School Counselor
Practice healthy communication: When stress is high, it can be difficult to communicate effectively. Do your best to set expectations at times when everyone is ready to listen. If your child is struggling, practice empathetic listening by validating their feelings instead of trying to solve their problems. Students may be feeling a sense of loss as meaningful moments have been postponed or canceled. Don't be afraid to ask them about their feelings, and in turn, offer a listening ear, not a solution.
Engage with the people around you: The number of people in your home right now might be many, and it might be few, but either way, connection is key. Digital communication is a great workaround during social distancing, and respecting alone time is crucial, but face-to-face connection is still essential. Play a board game, break out a puzzle and have dinner together.
Create boundaries and routine: Having a sense of routine during uncertain times can be very stabilizing. Take a nod from the Forest Ridge digital learning schedule, which provides structured classes and built-in breaks to each school day. As much as possible, set boundaries on the school and workday so you can fully unplug during non-working hours. Set up spaces that are just for work and just for rest (no work in bed!), set screen time limits on apps, particularly social media (you too, parents!) and limit the amount of media coverage you take in each day.
Take care to your mind and body: When building your routine, set aside 30 minutes each day for exercise. Try a new YouTube workout or create your own way to get moving. In addition, experiment with mindfulness techniques like meditation, conscious breathing, and yoga. Try cooking a new recipe, and maintain a healthy diet. Our minds and bodies are deeply connected, so we must take care of them in tandem.
Separate what you can and can't control: As hard as it is to admit, we must remember that we only have control over what we do. We can feel empowered by remembering what we do have control over, like how we protect ourselves by following the recommendations of official resources like the CDC and WHO. Once you acknowledge what you can't control, such as the actions of others, do your best to let it go.
Be gentle with yourself: As a counselor, I often remind my students that they are not alone, as fears and anxieties can be lonely. The irony of this situation is that, although we are isolating, we are the farthest from alone in our fears than we have ever been. Uncertainty is really hard. Take comfort in the fact that you are in community with others who have worn their pajamas all day, spent too much time online and eaten all the tasty snacks already. In between following the tips above, remember to laugh, do what you love and be kind to yourself.
- Forest Ridge Blog