More Ways to Cope: Tips for Managing Your Family’s Mental Health as the Pandemic Continues

Mar 3, 2021

A year ago, most people thought the pandemic might only last a few months, then life would return to “normal.” A year later, vaccines are just starting to make their way through our communities, and families have been stretched thin by cancelled activities, working/schooling from home, and general frustration and grief about the things we miss the most. 

People Incorporated’s School-Based Mental Health team recently released these tips for continuing to manage your family’s mental health as the pandemic continues. 

It’s Okay to lower your expectations  

Of yourself and others… Whether an educator, staff member, parent, or student, the 2020 school year presented many challenges, and many of those continue today. It’s okay to prioritize what is most important for you and your family, and it’s okay to say ”no” when it’s getting to be too much. 

Make Time to Talk About It  

It is important to make sure you continue to check in and have conversations about how you are feeling. Make sure to avoid labels such as good/bad, instead try comfortable/uncomfortable. For educators, if at all possible, make time during class when you can to check in with the students. It can help relieve some of the uncomfortable feelings and increase a sense of togetherness. Remember: Everyone has mental health, you are not alone! 

Realistic Routines  

Creating and maintaining a routine helps lower anxiety by helping prepare us for what is next. Here are some ways to help you and your child/student create a distance learning routine.  

  1. Create the schedule with your child. Try to use their input so they feel more in control and take ownership.  
  2. Be flexible. Decide what the “must-do” items are and be more flexible with the rest of the day. 
  3. Match each child’s age and needs. Younger kids (and some older kids) may need frequent breaks in order to stay on track.  
  4. Make time for family connections. Find activities that work for your child and family: walks, meals, reading, games, dancing, whatever!  
  5. Make time for movement. Let kids get the wiggles out or take a short walk like they normally would between classes. If they need it, allow for a longer activity. 

Adapted from The Parish School Blog