For most of us, one of the hardest things about the measures we’re having to take to contain the spread of COVID-19 is social distancing. Human beings are sociable creatures; we thrive on connections, and physical connection through touch (which is why massage is so vital). While we can’t do much about the physical distance that this virus has put between us all, there are things that we can do to maintain our emotional connections.
Reach Out to People Virtually At least this has happened now, rather than in a time when we weren’t as virtually connected. We have so many options at our fingertips; we can use FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, House Party, WhatsApp – or go old school and call people up, send emails and texts. Don’t forget to make the time to connect with other people, to give and receive support.
Kids also need to talk to each other and stay in touch with their friends, so try and organize virtual playdates and give the older kids some freedom to chat with their school buddies. Time seems to go a lot slower when you’re younger and with no social interaction, teens especially may get lonely.
The Kids Will Act Up – Give Them A Break It’s not just the adults of the family who are struggling to get their heads around what’s happening. Children, who may be used to having a regular daily and weekly routine, will feel shaken up by the changes to their day – they rely on having their normal routines created by other people, it makes them feel secure and safe knowing what’s happening.
Kids may display signs of anxiety. They could become withdrawn as they start to worry or misbehave just for attention. They may even start to experience nightmares, difficulty sleeping, start pushing parental limits, or some may experience meltdowns. This is not the time to start imposing behavioral plans or consequences. Deal with each episode or issue as it crops up, be there for your children and show understanding. Keep talking and make it known that you are there for your children’s worries and questions.
Thrive on Safety and Attachment It’s going to be hard not to get wrapped up in unusual work commitments, home schooling responsibilities, keeping the house as clean as possible and watching the news reports…but there is security in attachment and communication. Children will feel scared and in unpredictable situations, they need extra reassurance from their care givers. Focus on strengthening emotional connections with the kids – hugs and physical touch, playing, reading feel good books and giving verbal reassurances that you are there for them no matter what.
Help Other People There are so many ways that we can support our friends, family and neighbors at the moment, and every kindness adds to a feeling of ‘we’re in this together’. If you have neighbors needing help, offer to grocery shop, check in with any elderly neighbors on the phone and ask if they need anything, pick up people’s medication for them from the drugstore. Just offer a helping hand or a listening ear to anyone who needs a friendly chat.
Reach Out for Help Yourself You can’t do everything yourself, and in order to help others and be there for the kids, you need to make sure that you’re OK too. Check in with your therapist, if you have one, virtually. Follow massage and self-care tips from your massage and skincare therapists. Don’t forget to keep your own medications up to date. If you are having difficulty coping, ask for help. There are mental health experts waiting to help people through these unprecedented times and they can provide support and advice if you’re feeling the pressure. Turn to your children’s teachers for help with home schooling, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice if you’re tasked with schooling child with special challenges. There are plenty of online support groups being set up to help home-schoolers, parents, and neighborhoods to stay connected. We may have to remain physically distant, but we can always connect virtually.
Stay in touch and stay safe …