Dealing with the Stress of the Pandemic
I've been sheltering in place since March 12. I'm an introvert and enjoy working from home, so at first this seemed like a blessing. But as the months have worn on, I'm showing signs of stress: less patience, quicker to anger, lots of tears at unexpected times, and less energy. And did I mention I have generalized anxiety disorder even when there isn't a global pandemic?
I've seen a pattern with my students, too: some are less enthusiastic, others are more distracted, and some actively resist showing up to sessions or doing the work assigned. All of this is normal and to be expected when trying to learn (and live) during a pandemic.
We are all dealing with the unknown, and we all react to stress differently. If you have noticed a shift in your child's resilience, work ethic, or general outlook, know that this is not unusual. According to the CDC, stress can manifest in various ways in children:
• Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
• Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)
• Excessive worry or sadness
• Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
• Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
• Poor school performance or avoiding school
• Difficulty with attention and concentration
• Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
• Unexplained headaches or body pain
• Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
I do my best to keep this in mind when working with students and I understand their progress might be slower right now and they may not be at their best during our session. It's okay. We are all doing our best.
I have a couple meditations on my website that may be helpful: one for grounding to help students become present, one for releasing negative thoughts/energy, and one for progressive relaxation. They are between 5 and 7 minutes long and are available both on my site or through SoundCloud.
Photo by Kylo on Unsplash.