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Those words were Patty Wipfler’s warm call to parents, trying to cope in the fallout of the coronavirus.
Patty took to the Hand in Hand Parenting Facebook page for a Live about coping well during the coronavirus crisis, and as expected, her words offered comfort, strength and a total trust in a parent’s ability to cope well.
She shared several facts and directions for coping as news about coronavirus reaches concerned parents across the globe. And then shared several rememberings and directions to follow, including one very powerful antidote to fear.
After mentioning several trusted sources that parents could turn to for accurate and up to date information, Patty talked about why news of the coronavirus has impacted us so hard. She then shared several ideas and a plan of action for safeguarding our children and coping well.
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As schools close and more people are revealed to have contracted the virus, fear has spread too.
We fear for our children’s safety, and in our normal lives, most of us are not used to confronting the possibility of death. This could be why the main reason fear around coronavirus and COVID-19 has shaken so many of us.
For others, the sense of threat is a trigger.
The Impact of Fear and Safeguarding Ourselves
The effects of fear that makes us forget our wisdom, forget that people care about us and forget to reach out, Patty says.
But to cope well, we must fight those fears.
Patty touched on the racial discrimination that has risen up since Coronavirus appeared, saying that fear can result in misguided thinking and actions. “We do need to remember that it’s a germ we are battling not people that had it, who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she says.
“Reaching for support can be one of the hardest things that parents can do,” says Patty. We forget that we can do it but it is so helpful.
She advised making good use of the Hand in Hand Listening Partnership tool, even if you’ve never tried it before, and making regular use of this tool when your thinking gets destructive or keeps you stuck. “Talk about it. Try to laugh and cry so that the tension comes pouring out.”
If you are scared, now is a good time to try Listening Partnerships for the first time. Try posting for a partner in the Hand in Hand support group Parents Connect.
You can get a free guide to Listening Partnerships here.
Children’s sense of feeling protected does depend on how you feel. They are able to pick up on terror and the way we relay information. When we inform them about why they need to wash their hands more or follow your safety directions, its good to give information in small spurts, Patty says, but keeping relaxed will be most helpful for them.
Aside from offloading that fear and tension in Listening Partnerships, Patty shared a powerful antidote to fear.
“The most powerful antidote to fear is play, both for yourself and your children,” she says.
Play brings happiness, play brings the chance to shrug off worry and stress.
Play with those you love – grown or small – and it will help protect you, she says. Do things that make you happy. Play with your children, but find ways that you can play too, whether that’s watching a funny movie, exercising, going on a date.
And play with laughter works best.
“Laughter releases fear and lowers stored tension – it’s the frosting on the cake of play, and we want plenty of frosting!”
Remembering These Things Will Serve You Well
Patty shared some key things to remember, as you try and cope through Coronavirus and other challenges:
Remember people care for you. They do. It pays to think of them in these times.
Remember you are good. You care. You are working hard to cope well.
Remember to keep your usual “calculated” risks in mind. Many things we do in our everyday life, from taking transport, to food choices, and many other endeavours, could be viewed as more life-threatening than this outbreak. Parents should try and keep that front of mind.
Patty finished up by giving a direction against getting overcome by worry. “Worry sucks the fun out of life and takes a lot of energy,” she says.
To accomplish this, she advised keeping up to date with news, perhaps once every few days from a reliable force, then making plans and preparations based on what you know, who you are, who your family is, and where you live.
And then back yourself!
Know that you have thought it through, you made decisions, and then get back to doing what you need to, Patty says. This trust in yourself will help beat back worry and keep you feeling grounded.
“Go about your life. Don’t let that decision gnaw at you,” she says.
And when you find yourself worrying or lost in feelings?
Go back to your listening partner. “Use your listening like a waste disposal system for feelings that take the fun and positivity from your life,” Patty says.
Her Facebook Live offered calm and reassurance. You can watch the whole video here.
Patty ends by thanking every parent for being part of Hand in Hand’s accepting community, one who listens so well, and for the care and love you all give as parents.
How are you coping with the Coronavirus crisis? Do leave a comment and let us know.
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