Written by Doctor G

Tips on How to Mentally Strengthen for the Road Ahead

I sincerely hope that you and your family are well, and are managing the current reality and uncertainty without total upheaval at home or in your work. In reality, I know that most of us are experiencing exactly that total upheaval, and my heart goes out to you.

Right now, most of us are trying to figure out new schedules, and how to work from home with some combination of kids, pets, worry for others, taking out the garbage, distractions… you know, all.the.things. We are trying to find our ways in this time of uncertainty.

What’s the new normal at our house? I am seeing patients virtually, in the hospital, and in housecalls (safer than office or hospital, especially for the newborns). I’ve also been working with organizations, speaking to communities of educators, parents and businesses on how they can strengthen their families and their staff during this uncertain time.  Also I now have ALL FOUR BOYS (11,13,15,17) in the same house together for the first time in a year, since the 15 year old needed to come home from his sophomore year in another country. So, if you see me in the grocery store with an overflowing cart, I am not panic buying. This is my normal twice a week shopping trip to feed them all!

So, How are YOU Doing?

In times like this, it’s important to talk about how we feel and realize that you aren’t alone in feeling afraid, uncertain or isolated. There are so many of us feeling these things but not a lot of people talking about them. How many times have you found yourself saying “OK” or “fine”, when someone asks how you are doing, when you know in fact, you feel exactly the opposite.

Right now, it’s important to shore up your foundation and mentally strengthen yourself, because these changes are going to last a while.

Here are a few tips that may help you get through the anxiety and isolation you may be feeling:

  • Reach out to friends and family. Set up a Facetime happy hour or a Zoom virtual dinner with friends. We had our first virtual shabbat dinner last week and just seeing our families faces was enough to brighten a tough day. This is important especially if you are feeling sad, depressed, or isolated. Chances are they are feeling some of those same feelings.
  • Find something to keep your mind and hands busy! Now is the time to do something you WANT to do. Do you have a stack of books sitting on the bookshelf unread or a queue of Netflix shows to watch. It doesn’t have to be learning a new language or fixing the world’s economy (though if you’re of a mind to do that, that would be great!). Find something that brings you joy and carve out a portion of your day to do it:)
  • Exercise. Keeping your body healthy and moving is important. There are plenty of YouTube fitness and yoga videos that require little to no equipment or the YMCA is now offering free virtual classes!
  • Find Gratitude. Finding things that you are grateful for in this time is a way to get your mind off of negative thoughts. Try writing down a few things each day that you are grateful for and revisiting them throughout the day when you are feeling anxious or sad.
  • Express Gratitude. It’s also a great time to express gratitude to all the people who are keeping communities going – sanitation workers, delivery drivers, first responders, medical professionals, postal workers, grocery store employees – while we are practicing staying home and social distancing. You never know how much that small gesture means to those who are working tirelessly to keep life moving and serve others. Here’s a letter my boys wrote to ours.
  • Reach Out to Neighbors (while social distancing)! My younger boys decided to write letters to our neighbors and give out bags of chalk so they can color their sidewalks to brighten up the neighborhood.

And please, if you are feeling hopeless and depressed, please know that this situation will not last forever. If you or someone you love is struggling, there are resources to find someone to talk to. I hope that you don’t have to use it, however, I want to make sure you have it if you do.National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1-800-273-8255

I also created a page on my site where I will be adding resources from free learning sites to how to talk to your kids about the coronavirus. If there is anything else you need help with, hit REPLY and let me know.

Visit my Coronavirus Resource page HERE.

I hope you and your family stay safe!

All my best,

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