Four Tips to Cope With Anxiety as a New Parent During COVID-19
BY BETH HALENAR
The challenges of new motherhood and parenting in and of itself can be daunting. In these past few months, we have had to face a number of changes in our lives, and the uncertainty of our new world has created additional fears and worries. What can we do to feel more secure and less stressed?
Lehigh Valley Health Network Licensed Professional Counselor, Beth Halenar has some tips to help you cope.
Think WIN: What is In my control Now? What can we do in the moment to feel better and to take care of our children/ family/loved ones? Staying in the here and now is key.
Worrisome thoughts activate the sympathetic response and trigger “fight or flight.” Our heart races, we may sweat, and feel scared. The breath is the bridge to activate the parasympathetic response and get to a place of greater calm and peace. There are many free apps and resources available to help with invoking calm though breath work. Two of my favorite apps are “Stop, Breathe, Think” and “UCLA Mindful.”
Remember what I like to call the three A’s: Accept, Adapt and Appreciate. We need to Accept current changes such as social distancing and other safety measures. It is a real challenge, as we are social beings. We want and need to spend time with grandparents, friends and family. Due to the circumstances, we need to Adapt. Thankfully, technology offers us such resources as Zoom and Skype, as well as phone calls or perhaps a handcrafted card made by our child. We still need others, but how we connect needs to be different. This will hopefully lead us to Appreciate the many blessings we may have taken for granted or because of our busy and active lifestyle, failed to recognize.
Don’t forget the basics—rest when your baby sleeps; go out for a walk (don’t forget to maintain social distancing); eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water; take a shower; brush your teeth; talk to someone about your feelings; make housework a low priority and ask trusted family and friends for help.
Finally, it is also imperative that we be kind to ourselves and realize we are all doing the best we can. Give yourself some slack and remember that we are all in this together!
About the Author
Beth Halenar, Behavioral Coordinator, OB/GYN is a licensed professional counselor working in Women’s health and holds certifications in Perinatal MH and Biofeedback. She has a broad base of MH counseling and experience in helping individuals, couples and families improve the quality of their lives via the therapeutic journey.
For more information related to babies, infants and all things motherhood, please visit LVHN.org/motherhoodpartners.