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.

Your child’s self-esteem start with you!

Your child’s self-esteem start with you!

parental self-esteem

Self-esteem is the greatest gift you can offer your child. How to foster a healthy sense of self, resilience and self-confidence in a child is not an easy task. It is not difficult in the sense of how to do it, it is difficult because of where we are today as a society. We have lost our way and forgotten the basic principles of parenting that help us raise children with healthy self-esteems. We have shifted our focus on externals, when really, self-esteem is an inside job. Healthy self-esteem is stable in independent of external accolades and circumstances. People today, all too often define themselves by externals. Thing is, these are fleeting.

The best way to start is a back to basics approach. A return to nurturing each child’s unique needs, and anchoring parenting choices to specific individual and family values. Simple is better, and more sustainable with the busy lives that we lead.

The first and simplest step to take on your journey to raise your child… is to start with you. Yes, you heard me right: YOU (the parent). You have to lead the way.

When you love yourself, you take better care of yourself (physically and emotionally), you make better choices, you are happier, you have healthier relationships, you are empowered, you have healthy boundaries, you don’t let external circumstances define you, you accept yourself fully, you are less judgmental of yourself and of others, and the list goes on and on.

The reason why we start with you, is simple. Children learn best by looking at what you do, rather than listening to what you say. That’s the bottom line. If you can develop true healthy self-esteem, your child has greater chances to follow in your footsteps. There is no way around it. You have to do the work. No short cuts.

So follow me on this journey, and stay tuned.

Parent Overwhelm: 5 Tips to Cope with Stress.

Parent Overwhelm: 5 Tips to Cope with Stress.

I recently watched a Ted Talk and I thought I would summarize here a few of the key elements in raising families. How adaptability and values, can help us cope with the chaos, stress,  and overwhelm. Read on:
 
  1. Kids do sense that their parents are out of control. even when parents think they hide it well. Kids are amazing barometers. They feel our energy so well. Kids also take on their parents’ stress. It’s no wonder there is an epidemic of anxious children.
 

2. Chores in the morning DO work well. And a better option than letting kids on their screens and them fighting with them to get out of the house. Kids who do chores in the a.m. usually are happy to leave the house because… the fun lies ahead… just think about it 🙂

3. Checklists work so well. They reduce the confusion and they become part of a routine and rhythm. They help children feel safe, and rhythms keep them grounded… and there is less arguing in the process.

4. Finally, his three key elements: adapt, empower, and tell your story, are so true.

  • This world is always changing… even within the microcosm of our tiny lives.. change is a certainty… rigidity is a killer and a recipe for disaster. Adaptability (us modeling it as well as parents) teaches kids resilience. Not all families are the same what matters most is time spent together. We all have such different circumstances. So I do agree with him when he says we need to adapt “parenting tips” from so-called expert to fit our unique family needs. There is no one size fits all. Finally, if we can model flexibility as parents, our kids will also become flexible individuals. Adapting also means that we need to get off our pedestal and get to our children’ levels and acknowledge that they too are wise individuals and that their feedback is essential. They are our greatest teachers.

 

  • Humans need their daily dose of power and connection; this includes kids. We only need to discipline no more than 10% of the time… our most important role as parents is to teach. We do need to focus more on what they do right. They are new to this world; we are veterans. Of course, they will make mistakes. Children NEED to make mistakes. Mistakes are what build our character, allow us to discover who we are, what we are made of, what we like and dislike. Mistakes are necessary, too bad they get such a bad rap… maybe we should just call them something else :-). Empowering kids means that we need to give them their healthy dose of power/control on a daily basis. This also means that we need to stop overprotecting them and allow them to fail and experience negative feelings. Where else are they going to learn to cope with strong emotions if not under the safety of our roofs? There are no better lessons than life lessons. Way more powerful than lectures, punishment, and reward… kids need to fail to learn how to rise… and to rise strong, that is. Although its hard to see them suffer, it is necessary. Just be there on their side and validate, empathize, and support so that they will learn how to do it for themselves when you are not there.. and THIS will strengthen their self-worth in the process.

 

  • Last but not least… our kids do need to hear our stories 🙂 over and over … my daughter always asks me (especially in the car because she gets bored) “mommy tell me another story when you were little”.. and I do tell her the good, the bad and the ugly.. and she has no preference.. they all feed her.. and she loves hearing them over and over again. OUR stories are really like fairy tales (not the Disney versions).. they have archetypes, they have good and evil, victors and fallen souls… fairy tales feed our children’s souls (see Waldorf education/Steiner)… I think this is why kids are captivated by our stories… I remember my nanny telling me over and over again (she was Dutch) the story of how her husband escaped the Nazis… you would think I would have been terrified, but I wasn’t… I needed to hear it again and again… it was a story overcoming the worst odds, and 40 years later- that story is still in my soul. Stories teach them how to overcome the negative and that it is part of life…and then it doesn’t become so scary to have negative experiences…they teach us that.we are the heroes in our lives… in their lives..no need to be rescued by prince charming… 🙂 we can rescue ourselves! (…and that it’s also ok to ask for help in the process).
5. What a beautiful gift to create a mission statement UNIQUE to our family based on our values. And to place them on the wall. Values drive our choices. Kids are bombarded with over 25K advertisements a year… they compete with our family values on a daily basis… so we need to hold on tight to our values, teach them to our kids so that they can embody them and resist strong external pressures. SO that our values flow in their veins, and are the oxygen that keeps ’em going, the compass to their lives. Through the stories of our lives that we share with our kids, they will learn through osmosis our values, they will become part of their core and they will not waver, even in your absence. And then you can rest that they will resist peer pressures that could hurt them.
 
As Feiler said. “Happiness is something we create not something we find”. Our values drive our choices. We can choose to be happy and teach this to our kids in the process… What a beautiful gift.
 

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