Coping With Anxiety in a Pandemic

Coping With Anxiety in a Pandemic

🌿Hello everyone,

As we head into week 7 and I’m talking to more and more people online and offline, I am noticing we are all struggling with similar things.

Not knowing how long this will last can be unsettling and finding a rhythm that works is still a work in progress. We are still trying to navigate this new normal and figuring things out. 

Due to the pandemic and related stressors, I have been focussing on helping as many people as I can. 

These times are difficult for all of us and the social distancing is taking its toll on people. Parents are getting overwhelmed with having to work from home and homeschool, not being able to see loved ones or friends increases the sense of isolation, the complicated task of having to disinfect everything you buy can become burdensome, the lack of income is quite stressful as well… the list can go on and on. 

People are reporting a variety of difficulties in coping with COVID19, such as fear and incessant worry, being angry or irritable, sleep problems, difficulty focussing and concentrating, being indecisive, increase consumption of substances compared to their usual intake, more conflict within the home. 

I’ve heard comments like “I’m going nuts”, 😜 “This is insane”, “I’m losing it”, “My spouse and I are fighting all the time”, “I’m scared my parents will get sick”, “What if I get sick, who will take care of my kids?”….

There is no miraculous solution for this but apply some of the following strategies

  • stay active,
  • stay connected with friends and loved ones,
  • reconnect with your body,
  • practice self-care on a daily basis,
  • make time for yourself,
  • ask for help if you need it,
  • accept the situation for what it is and the feelings that arise,
  • focus on what you can control,
  • try to stay present as best as you can and remember that this will not last forever,
  • do all that you can to stay healthy,
  • minimize self-imposed stress,
  • accept that your normal way of functioning/living has to change,
  • it’s okay not to be productive all the time (these are stressful times,
  • you may need to rest more and take more breaks and do less),
  • make time for yourself,
  • create a realistic routine,
  • go on a news diet,
  • monitor your intake of substances

My psychology and coaching practices mainly focus on parenting, anxiety, stress management and coping with life transitions, such as what we are going through right now. So, if any of you were hesitating to reach out, please do not hesitate. I am here for you. I’m just a call  ☎️ or an email away. All sessions are via video in the comfort of your home, your car or the park 🙂

If you are not sure about working one-on-one, I have also created with a friend an online course to support you through the pandemic. We have set the price really low until May 15th in order to reach as many people as we can (ONLY $35). We know many people have been hit hard financially and cannot afford to hire a psychologist or a life coach.

This was our way to give back and contribute. 👐

🍃The course has 8 video lessons that cover topics such as coping with anxiety, parenting, helping kids out, dealing with uncertainty and fear, how to deal with the lack of control in this situation,  how to best support your children through all this, and so much more.  The videos have 4 hours of content and many FREE Bonuses, including guided meditations for children and adults and more free talks.

Have a look, at the course outline (with a 13-minute video) and our FREE webinar.

I have no doubt that many of you will find very helpful tips in this course. You can even offer it as a gift to someone you care for.  

So, that’s it for now. Stay safe everyone, practice social distancing but keep in touch with loved ones.  I am leaving you with this quote:

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Vivian Greene

Wishing you all ✨to stay safe and healthy ✨!

With gratitude,   🌿

Dr. Gina

P.S.: One final thing: 

Those who know me, know that I aim to serve, so please submit any suggestions of content you would love to see in my membership site or in my newsletter.

Island of the Sleeping Ponies: Meditation Helping Children Go to Sleep

Island of the Sleeping Ponies: Meditation Helping Children Go to Sleep

 

annie-spratt-bxt-tWSF-Ko-unsplash

This visualization is narrated by my daughter (11 years old). It will help your child settle down so they can fall asleep peacefully. Have them become quiet and you may do a whole-body relaxation beforehand. Source: The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook for Kids (Shapiro & Sprague, 2009)

🌿 Getting Through COVID-19

🌿 Getting Through COVID-19

paige-cody-bOVZ_f3fbQM-unsplash

🌿 We are going through tough times right now but amidst the difficulties, we are seeing amazing unity between people, communities and nations. More than ever we are all working together and stepping up to help the vulnerable and people in need.

 

Our government and major banks are also following suit and have prepared packages for those of us who are without work and are experiencing financial strains of different kinds.

 

We are forced to go back to basics. A great lesson will come out of this terrible situation which is affecting everyone around the globe in an unprecedented way. We can truly say that we are all touched by this in one form or another. ALL of us, without exception. Rich or poor, and everything in between, this is the great equalizer.

 

We are coming to the realization of what really matters in life: connection, food, shelter. The fluff is no longer important or essential.

When planning for this pandemic, what comes to mind? Do I have enough food? Enough medication? What can I do to stay active physically and stay safe? What can I do with my kids? How can I keep busy at low or no cost while confined to my house? How do I work from home? What can I do if I have no work?

 

It has forced us to be creative, resourceful, reach out and ask for help, as well as reach out and offer help to those in need. It has forced us to redirect where we spend our money. Prioritize our health over material things. It has forced us to learn to cooperate and look beyond our belly button. To look outside of us and see that we are all connected and that the choices we make have an impact on more than just ourselves. Our choices, big or small,  have a ripple effect to a greater extent than we can ever imagine.

 

This virus is a wake-up call. It has forced us to live in a way that is more sustainable. Shop locally, stop overspending on things (or you won’t have anything left for emergencies), eat whole foods, don’t waste, save some for others, share, help, unite, have proper hygiene because we can make ourselves and others sick, connect with your kids and do less, embrace simplicity and the basics in life. Basically, this will force many to re-evaluate their values, what matters most and the choices they will make from now on.

 

The world, while still turning, has forced us to come to a halt. In the meantime, animals in nature are coming out to play because we are no longer a threat. We are now the ones in captivity and living in fear. The tables have been turned on us. It has been clear in the past few years that something had to give and that we needed to wake up.

We had multiple nudges but it wasn’t enough. People did not listen… now they are forced to. The world as we knew it is no longer. We cannot turn a blind eye and expect it will have no impact. It will catch up with us, whether we want to or not, in some way or another.

 

Many are still in denial about the gravity of the situation and they are still placing people at risk unnecessarily. It is sad. Our society has become very self-centered and self-serving and some are already paying the price. This will need to shift. We all need to do our part and think of the impact of our individual choices and decisions on the whole. Whether it be relating to how we raise our children, how we treat the environment and other people, who we vote for and what companies we support.

 

As we go through this massive global shift, it is important more than ever to come together and be agents of change. And this starts in our families. So, for now, we are all confined to our homes and we are forced to be creative, deal with each other, respect each other’s spaces, learn to cope, basically.

 

Once the novelty wears off, we will see stress levels increase. We need to prepare for this and instead, set in place prevention strategies… Stop being reactive and be proactive.

 

How do we do this?

  • Create routines and rituals for you and your children. It brings stability and reduces stress.
  • For now, this is the new normal, so stop resisting it, accept it, and make adaptive choices to THIS new normal. Stop resisting, it will make it much harder for you to be resourceful.
  • If you have to work from home, have a designated space. Even if that space is small and cannot be behind closed doors. Designate an area and tell people around you that when you are in that space you are not to be disturbed.
  • Take a lunch break and a couple of breaks during the workday. And shut down at the end of your workday.
  • Respect each other’s style: introverts need time away  & alone to recharge, extraverts need time with others to recharge. Don’t take it personally, it is not a rejection. Give each other that space.
  • Keep up the self-care, exercising from home (change your routine- find a new way).
  • Don’t numb out on TV or screens all the time. Trust me, it will creep up on you and you will feel dissatisfied with life.
  • Go on a news diet. Really limit it to the minimum and the necessary. There is no need to keep updated on the latest mortality rates. You are stuck at home. Stay safe and healthy. Get the news that is useful (e.g., government aid, assistance programs, helpful warnings and advice). No need to look at the news that will just make you more anxious. It is not useful. You are just traumatizing your brain over and over again.
  • Do NOT expose your children to the news and educate your teens about this as well.
  • Get involved in creative projects, no matter what they are. Whether it is art, models, puzzles, drawing, music, dance, cooking, taking apart a small engine, science projects, journaling, scrapbooking, collecting, knitting, sewing, writing, etc… the sky is the limit on how we can get creative and engage the mind. This becomes your meditation. You get in the flow and this is very calming.
  • Practice mindfulness, meditation, gratitude, yoga, tai chi, walk in nature… they are all calming and grounding for the mind and the body.
  • Work as a team in the house. Assign chores, tasks etc. Help each other. Kids need to learn life skills, civics and ethics… 
  • Get the App Insight Timer on your phone or tablet. It is simply amazing. It is FREE. They don’t advertise and that is why many people don’t know about it. Save money and use this free app which has podcasts, guided meditations for all kinds of issues (for children and adults). It is quite complete.
  • Focus on the positive. Do not live in fear. It will reduce your immunity. We don’t want that. The health care system is already taxed enough. Practice stress management and teach your family as well. No good comes out of stress.
  • Join this community if you need support. It is a positive community that I and a friend, Richard Robins, a wonderful social worker, lead. Ottawa’s Pandemic Mental Health Support Group is on Facebook.
  • A resource book for parents that I keep updating. Parents Resources Booklet  

 

So, that’s it for now. Stay safe everyone, practice social distancing but keep in touch with loved ones. And, finally, embrace this special time. Good will come out of it and try to see the silver lining.

 

🌿P.S.: If your children are struggling with fear or anxiety I have posted 3 guided meditations for children 6 to 12 yo. They are narrated by my daughter when she was 6 and 11. Go to the App Insight Timer and you will find them there.  A review on iTunes would help people find us!! I would really appreciate it.

 

🌿ANNOUNCEMENT.: I’ve been working diligently on my membership site. It will be chock-full of resources of all kinds (online courses, audios, videos, PDFs, book recommendations, resources, helpful lessons AND an online community where we can connect and ask questions, Q & A calls).

 

Those who know me, know that I aim to serve, so please submit any suggestions of content you would love to see in there or in my newsletter.

 

Wishing you all ✨to stay safe and healthy ✨!

 

With gratitude,   🌿

Dr. Gina

💥💖The key to your happiness

💥💖The key to your happiness

kristian-lovstad-xplrF8WMitE-unsplash

 

As we are bidding 2019 farewell, it is time to ✨welcome 2020 ✨and start on a loving note!  ❤️

The year is ending and you find yourself feeling tired, depleted, burnt out, lost your passion for life and you’re just going through the motions. 

You tell yourself that there has got to be more to life than this!

Let me tell you this. Every single choice you make matters!

Are you spending more time taking care of other people than of yourself?

 As a result of being such an independent, fierce, productive woman, who can do it all, does it seems like you are not getting the support that you need?

 Self-love is at the core of all the choices we make. And boundaries are the foundation for proper self-care. 

What are you willing to accept from others and where do you draw the line?  

 We teach people how to treat us. And if we don’t value ourselves, our time, or our health, why would others? 

 Your actions speak louder than your words. Your boundaries are a reflection of your level of self-love and self-esteem. 

 If your boundaries are loose, you are signalling that you value others more than you do yourself.

 Having healthy boundaries means asking for what we want in all spheres of our lives: work, family, kids, partners, friends. 

 To be happy and successful at anything in your life you need to put yourself first and then you can take care of everyone else. 

 If you don’t love yourself, you will betray yourself over and over again. With time it will wear at your mind, body and soul…

This is why, as Caroline Myss says, people don’t heal. Because they are not willing to face the truth.

Did you know that self-esteem, boundaries and choices are all inter-connected?

 If you’re not sure and want to experience it first hand, try this out for a week  or two and notice if there has been a shift:

  • First step: Awareness. 🍃Start paying attention to ALL the choices you make throughout the day, big AND small. And notice the consequence of the choices you have just made. If you can journal about it to keep track. We easily forget! 

 

Every single choice we make has an impact. Trust me!

  • Second step: Stop and think. 🍃Now that you realize how many choices we make in a single day. Take a second or two and notice the choice you are about to make and ask yourself this question:

 

Is what I’m about to do reflective of self-love or love of the other, or is it a choice based on fear or guilt or a sense of obligation? 

  • Third step: Action. 🍃Now it is time to actually go into action. You’ve determined if this choice was out of love or not. If it is not, are you willing to pass, say no, set a boundary to honour yourself? 

 

Still hesitating, then ask yourself “If I wasn’t scared or did not feel guilty or obligated, what would I do?” And do it!

  • Fourth step: Taking responsibility. 🍃 If you were able to make a choice based on self-love. That’s awesome. Keep it up. You will reap the benefits, no doubt about it. 

 

If you still struggle with fear, guilt or sense of obligation, and let these emotions make the choices for you. That’s awesome too! 

Huh? You wonder. Well yes. Now you know the source of your stress, overwhelm, burnt out, depression, anxiety… you name it. 

You get to turn your life around NOW! 

Before I let you go, keep this quote in mind:

The life you have today is based on the choices you made yesterday and the life you will have tomorrow is based on the choices you make today.

If you want to find happiness, be mindful of the choices you make. They matter more than you think!

🌿P.S.: Don’t miss my bi-weekly podcast episodes and submit questions or topics of interest. Episodes 6 & 13 are relevant to today’s topic. A review on iTunes would help people find us!!

🌿ANNOUNCEMENT.: I’ve been working diligently on my membership site. It will be chock-full of resources of all kinds (online courses, audios, videos, PDFs, helpful lessons AND an online community where we can connect and ask questions, Q & A calls). All at a really affordable monthly price for those who cannot afford one-on-one coaching. 

Those who know me, know that I aim to serve, so please submit any suggestions of content you would love to see in there or in my newsletter.

Wishing you all a ✨Happy New Year ✨and Health ❤️above all else. The rest will naturally follow!

With gratitude,   🌿

Gina

 

How To Deal With Your Child’s Mistakes

How To Deal With Your Child’s Mistakes

One of the most common question parents ask me is how to punish their children when they make mistakes.  Yes I did say punish. People still think that rewards and punishment are the way to go when rearing their children. Although there is plenty of research indicating that rewards and punishment are not effective in teaching children proper behaviour nor intrinsic motivation.

This topic was inspired by a recent question on Quora, asking:

What is a Gentle yet effective way to punish your kids for their mistakes?

I thought it was an important question because this topic has such a huge impact on how children learn and turn out. SO here is my answer below:

How To Deal With Your Child's Mistakes

by Dr Gina Madrigrano

Pin It on Pinterest