“May you live in interesting times…”

By Marté J. Matthews, MA, LMFT



This famous quote/curse has all sorts of origin stories, but one thing is for sure, we are living in interesting times! The latest health crisis is leading to canceling public events, closing museums and libraries, and now even closing schools and sending families to “shelter in place.” Whatever travel and social plans you had for Spring Break are changing. As parents we are stressed and fearful! What can we do to help ourselves, and our kids, during these really stressful times? Here at Child & Family Counseling Group we have some suggestions to consider.


1. When you notice yourself feeling disoriented and stressed by this situation, pause and acknowledge it. This is a strange situation. Bring your focus to the moment, right here and now. Here and now you are safe. Here and now the kids are safe. Being present in the here and now is so much wiser than allowing yourself to slip into stress and distraction.


2. Limit news. Check in with yourself after you get the headlines. Do you actually need more information? Will continuing to listen leave you agitated and irritable? Consider shutting it off instead of listening all day. Eliminate news on TV, radio or in the “background” while your children are home. They may hear more information than they can cope with.


3. Maintain consistent routines as much as possible. You may be working from home and the schedule may be wonky for all sorts of reasons. Consider carefully at what you DO have control over, and what you DON’T have control over. Establish routines as close to your typical routines as possible. Do get dressed in regular street clothes in the morning. Eating and sleeping at consistent times will help you all stay healthier and less moody.


4. Get to bed early, and get more sleep. Stress is not “all in your head.” Stress is physical. Stress strains our emotional and physical capacity to cope. We need more rest when we are under stress. Go to bed when your kids go to bed. Resist the urge to stay up to watch “just a little more news” or play one more online Sodoku.


5. Eat healthy meals. While the kids are home from school take time to prepare food together, and enjoy mealtimes together. Enjoy some homemade treats, but don’t go wild with the sugar. Try activities like Ungame or the “Essential” card decks from www.mindbrainparenting.org to stimulate a little conversation at mealtimes.


6. Enjoy comfort, reading and cuddles together as a family. Go for walks outside. Even when sheltering in place, we can still go outside if we stay at least 6 feet from those outside our household. Stomp around in puddles in the rain. Enjoy the feeling of the sun on your skin when the clouds clear. Snuggle up with a good book when you get back home. Spending positive time doing enjoyable things feels good and it’s actually good for your brain.


In our next blog post, I’ll be sharing more suggestions about things families can do during long days at home. We hope you will visit our parenting blog.

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Please note that Child & Family Counseling Group, Inc. is a private organization and we are not a crisis center.  
 

​If you or your child is currently experiencing a crisis in which anyone is feeling unsafe, please contact:

Uplift Child & Adolescent Mobile Crisis at 408-379-9085
Alum Rock Child & Adolescent Mobile Crisis at 408-294-0579
Suicide & Crisis Hotline at 855-278-4204

 

In case of life-threatening emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Other resources for help in a crisis

Bill Wilson Center SOS Crisis Hotline 408-278-2585
BWC’s SOS Crisis Hotline is a specialized line answering calls 24/7 from parents, teachers, and community support persons for children and youth who are experiencing an immediate behavioral or mental health escalation or crisis. They provide an urgent phone or in-person response to help de-escalate and stabilize the situation.

Domestic Violence 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
https://www.thehotline.org/help/
Advocates are available 24/7 in more than 200 languages. All calls are free and confidential.

National Eating Disorders Association Helpline (800) 931-2237
https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/help-support/contact-helpline
Contact the Helpline for support, resources and treatment options for yourself or a loved one.
Helpline Phone hours are Monday-Thursday from 11AM to 9PM ET, and Friday from 11AM to 5PM ET.
Helpline Chat hours are Monday-Thursday from 9AM to 9PM ET and Friday 9AM to 5PM ET.
Helpline volunteers are trained to help you find the information and support you are looking for. Reach out today!

National Parent Helpline:  1-855-427-2736

24/7 Teenline for Youth: 1-888-247-7717

Santa Clara County Mobile Crisis Response (for adults in crisis) 1-800-704-0900

Crisis Textline text HOME to 741741
www.crisistextline.org

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