Since 1979, the New York Life Foundation has focused its support on times of transition for young people—following the loss of a loved one and during the shift from middle to high school—and supporting the philanthropic efforts of our workforce. As such, we have collaborated with our trusted partners to compile resources to support you and your family during this uncertain time.
Here are twelve tips about coping with the coronavirus from one of partners, Tom Demaria, from the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement.
- Find other topics to talk about. Limit the amount of conversations with friends and family about the coronavirus. Decide what news is essential to communicate. Often lengthy conversations do not provide comfort but increase the amount of fear others we care about feel.
- Digest the news properly. Figure out what is the best amount of news about the coronavirus you need to feel safe. When sorting out news about the coronavirus, remember the difference between possible risks and probable risks. Because you can think of a possible outcome does not make the event more probable. Make sure you keep perspective and properly digest news rather than just using the news to support anxieties and fears.
- Stay connected. Social distancing does not mean social isolation. Set up regular phone calls or social media messaging to structure your days at home. Share enjoyable topics and plans during these check-in contacts.
- Allow quiet time and space. Respect that being together in the house does not mean always having to be with each other. Allow time for loved ones to be apart. Absence does make the heart grow fonder!
- Be wary of boredom and try to enjoy “rainy day” activities or learn something new. Improving the quality of your life by trying new activities instead of dwelling on what you can no longer do. Include enough stimulating activities and variety to make your day enjoyable and avoid the traps of binge eating, spending, and media consumption. See free time you have been gifted through working at home as an opportunity to complete projects you have put aside for a “rainy day.”
- Feed body wellness. Make sure you remain mindful about your body’s needs. Exercise and a healthy diet are an important part of helping your body feel energized, gain a sense of control and reduce stress. Include more relaxation and mindfulness activities with doses of planned distraction and personal words of encouragement to lower tension.
- End your day of work. Keep regular work hours when you work at home, so your work life doesn’t spill into your home space. Find a place at home not associated with where you normally relax where you can consistently do your work.
- See the glass as half full and set a positive example. Practice being optimistic and hopeful. Optimism has been found as a key ingredient in helping our mind and bodies feel stronger. Model positive coping for your children. This can be a valuable opportunity for them to learn from you about how they can deal with their emotions and fears.
- Laugh more. Look for opportunities to practice your sense of humor. Laughter can help restore a sense of perspective.
- Forgive. Build up your tolerance and forgive the mistakes of others who may not be at their best because of the stress they experience.
- Focus your attention. Learn not to attend to rumors and the behavior of others that seem to be out of proportion to the stress they are facing. Accept that these are ways of reducing anxiety and gaining control which may be not helpful for you.
- Take one day at a time. Handle what you can tackle today and savor your accomplishments. Appreciate the difference between fortune telling and developing flexible plans for possible challenges you may face in the future.
Thomas Demaria, Ph.D. is a consultant for the National Center for School Crisis & Bereavement is involved in training initiatives for the Coalition to Support Grieving Students. He is a Clinical Psychologist and Fellow of both the Trauma and Clinical Divisions of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Demaria has earned numerous awards including the New York State Liberty Award and a Humanitarian Award by the Center for Christian & Jewish studies for leading national and community disaster responses. Dr. Demaria was a co-recipient of International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies’ award for clinical excellence and was recognized with a Distinguished Mentor Award for his teaching in the field of trauma. Dr. Demaria has developed over one hundred research studies in the fields of trauma and loss.
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