A psychologist's advice on how to help your children deal with the many emotions they may be experiencing now.
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) brings with it feelings like anxiety, stress and uncertainty — and they are felt especially strongly by children of all ages. Though all children deal with such emotions in different ways, if your child has been faced with school closures, cancelled events or separation from friends, they are going to need to feel loved and supported now more than ever.
We spoke with expert adolescent psychologist, best-selling author, monthly New York Times columnist and mother of two Dr. Lisa Damour about how you can help create a sense of normalcy at home while navigating “the new (temporary) normal.”
1. Be calm and proactive
“Parents should have a calm, proactive conversation with their children about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and the important role children can play in keeping themselves healthy. Let them know that it is possible that [you or your children] might start to feel symptoms at some point, which are often very similar to the common cold or flu, and that they do not need to feel unduly frightened of this possibility,” recommends Dr. Damour. “Parents should encourage their kids to let them know if they're not feeling well, or if they are feeling worried about the virus so that the parents can be of help.”
“Adults can empathize with the fact that children are feeling understandably nervous and worried about COVID-19. Reassure your children that illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults,” she says. It’s also important to remember, that many of the symptoms of COVID-19 can be treated. “From there, we can remind them that there are many effective things we can do to keep ourselves and others safe and to feel in better control of our circumstances: frequently wash our hands, don't touch our faces and engage in physical distancing.”
"Another thing we can do is actually help them look outward. So to say to them, ‘Listen, I know you’re feeling really anxious about catching coronavirus, but part of why we’re asking you to do all these things — to wash your hands, to stay home — is that that’s also how we take care of members of our community. We think about the people around us, too.’”
2. Stick to a routine
“Children need structure. Full stop. And what we’re all having to do, very quickly, is invent entirely new structures to get every one of us through our days,” says Dr. Damour. “I would strongly recommend that parents make sure that there’s a schedule for the day — that can include playtime where a kid can get on their phone and connect with their friends, but it also should have technology-free time and time set aside to help around the house. We need to think about what we value and we need to build a structure that reflects that. It will be a great relief to our kids to have a sense of a predictable day and a sense of when they’re supposed to be working and when they get to play.”
She suggests getting your children involved too. “For children 10 and 11 or older, I would ask the child to design it. Give them a sense of the kinds of things that should be included in their day, and then work with what they create.” When it comes to younger children, “depending on who is supervising them (I realize that not every parent is going to be home to do this) structure their day so that all of the things that need to get done before anything else happen: all of their schoolwork and all of their chores. For some families, doing that at the start of the day will work best for kids. Other families may find it may work okay to start the day a little bit later after sleeping in and enjoying breakfast together as a family.” For parents who are not able to supervise their children during the day, explore with your caretaker ways to create a structure that works best.
3. Let your child feel their emotions
With school closures come cancelled school plays, concerts, sports matches and activities that children are deeply disappointed about missing out on because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Dr. Damour’s number one piece of advice is to let them be sad. “In the scope of an adolescent’s life these are major losses. This is bigger for them than it is for us because we’re measuring it against our lifetime and experience. Support, expect and normalize that they are very sad and very frustrated about the losses they are mourning.” When in doubt, empathy and support are the way to go.
4. Check in with them about what they’re hearing
There is a lot of misinformation circulating about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). “Find out what your child is hearing or what they think is true. It’s not enough to just tell your child accurate facts, because if they have picked up something that is inaccurate, if you don’t find out what they are thinking and directly address the misunderstanding, they may combine the new information you give them with the old information they have. Find out what your child already knows and start from there in terms of getting them on the right track.”
If they have questions you can’t answer, instead of guessing, use it as an opportunity to explore the answers together. Use websites of trusted organizations like UNICEF and the World Health Organization for sources of information.
Many children are facing bullying and abuse at school or online around the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). It’s important your children know that you’re always there for them should they experience bullying. “Activating bystanders is the best way to address any kind of bullying,” says Dr. Damour. “Kids who are targeted should not be expected to confront bullies; rather we should encourage them to turn to friends or adults for help and support.”
5. Create welcome distractions
When it comes to processing difficult emotions, “take your cues from your child, and really think a lot about balancing talking about feelings with finding distractions, and allow distractions when kids need relief from feeling very upset.” Have a family game night every few days or cook meals together. Dr. Damour is using dinner time to connect with her daughters. “We’ve decided that we are going to have a dinner team every night. We mix it up in pairs, so we rotate who is in charge of making dinner for the family.”
With teens and their screens, allow for some leeway, but not a free-for-all. Dr. Damour advises to be up front with your teenager and say that you understand they have more time on their hands, but that it’s not going to be a good idea to have unfettered access to screens or social media. “Ask your teen, ‘how should we handle this? Come up with a structure and show me the structure that you’re thinking about, and then I’ll let you know what I think.’”
6. Monitor your own behaviour
“Parents of course are anxious too and our kids will take emotional cues from us,” explains Dr. Damour. “I would ask parents to do what they can to manage their anxiety in their own time and to not overshare their fears with their children. That may mean containing emotions, which may be hard at times, especially if they’re feeling those emotions pretty intensely.”
Children rely on their parents to provide a sense of safety and security. “[It’s important that] we remember that they are the passengers in this and we are driving the car. And so even if we’re feeling anxious, we can’t let that get in the way of them feeling like safe passengers.”
Source: Interview and article by Mandy Rich, Digital Content Writer, UNICEF
Vaccines for COVID-19 are now being rolled out, but in some parts of the world, this good news has been tempered by the emergence of new, potentially more infectious strains of the virus. Exactly how the pandemic will evolve has become more uncertain.
Certainly, the next three or so months will be challenging, and a virus-free life is probably some way off. Some things may not return to how they were before.
Predicting exactly how things will play out is difficult, but there are some things we can forecast with a relative degree of confidence. With that in mind, here’s what we can expect from the coming year.
What impact will the new strain have?
There’s currently only limited information about the new viral strain. Although yet to be confirmed, it appears to be more infectious, but not to lead to more severe disease or be able to evade vaccine-derived immunity.
However, the variant suggests the virus is able to produce significant mutations, and further mutations could change the course of the outbreak. Suppressing the pandemic quickly therefore has become an even more urgent task.
Stricter restrictions on behaviour are likely to last well into the new year, and we may need further restrictions to control the virus if it is indeed more infectious.
How long until we see the vaccine’s effects?
Producing enough vaccine doses is a big task – production might hit a bottleneck. Even assuming we can make all we need, immunising people will take many months.
In the UK, GPs are rolling out vaccines, and an average English GP looks after nearly 9,000 people. Assuming GPs work eight hours each day, need 10 minutes to vaccinate someone, and each patient needs two shots, it would take them more than a year to see all their patients. Others, of course, will help with the roll-out, but this shows the size of the task. Delays will be unavoidable.
Additionally, the two doses of the Pfizer vaccine need to be given 21 days apart, with full immunity arriving seven days after the second jab. Other vaccines – such as AstraZeneca’s – require an even longer period between doses. It will take at least a month (if not more) to see the full effect in each vaccinated person.
In countries that relaxed social distancing rules for Christmas, we might see a post-Christmas spike in cases. In this case, vaccines are unlikely to change much initially – the disease will have too much momentum in early 2021. This will also probably be the case in the UK thanks to the new strain of the virus, even though restrictions weren’t lifted for many. Public awareness of the disease’s momentum is needed, to avoid loss of confidence in vaccination.
How will the pandemic unfold?
After people have had COVID-19 (or received a vaccine), they become immune (at least in the short term). Those infected later then increasingly have contact with immune people rather than susceptible ones. Transmission therefore falls and eventually the disease stops spreading – this is known as herd immunity.
The level of immunity across the population needed to stop the virus spreading isn’t precisely known. It’s thought to be between 60% and 80%. We’re currently nowhere near that – meaning billions around the world will need to be vaccinated to stop the virus spreading.
This also relies on vaccines preventing transmission of the virus, which hasn’t yet been proved. If it is, we’ll see a decline in COVID-19 cases, perhaps as early as spring 2021. However, lockdowns and other measures will still be needed to limit transmission while vaccination builds up population immunity – particularly wherever the more infectious strain of the virus has taken hold.
In contrast, if the vaccine only prevents infected individuals from becoming seriously ill, we will be left relying on infections to build up herd immunity. In this scenario, vaccinating the vulnerable would reduce the death rate, but serious illness and long COVID affecting younger people would likely persist.
What’s likely to change?
Vaccines aren’t a silver bullet – some level of precaution will need to be maintained for months. In areas where the highly infectious strain is rampant, high-level restrictions may last until vaccine roll-out has finished. Any changes will come slowly, primarily in the area of care home visits and reopening hospitals for regular treatment.
In time, travel will hopefully become more straightforward, though airlines might start requiring vaccination certificates. Although some countries require vaccination against yellow fever for entry, requiring immunity passports for COVID-19 is likely to prove contentious.
Mask wearing might become a social habit globally as it is now in Asia – for example when somebody is not feeling well or is concerned for their health.
Looking further ahead
Can vaccination lead to eradication of the virus? We don’t yet know how long vaccine-based immunity lasts – and long-term immunity will be key. Fully eradicating the virus will be very difficult and will require a global effort.
While we’ve got close to eradicating polio, smallpox remains the only human disease we’ve fully stamped out, and this took almost 200 years. Measles, for example, although nearly eradicated in many countries, keeps coming back.
Some vaccines, like measles, give nearly lifelong protection, whereas others need to be repeated, like tetanus. If COVID-19 mutates regularly and significantly – and its potential to do so has just been demonstrated – we may need to take new vaccines periodically, like we do for flu. In the long term, we would also need to vaccinate children to maintain herd immunity.
The social and economic effects of the pandemic will probably be long-lasting too. Perhaps life will never return to what it was before. But it is up to us to make it safer by being better prepared for future pandemics.
SOURCE: The Conversation
Working from home is new and unfamiliar territory. If not managed properly, it can also pose many unforeseen challenges.
• Identify personal and professional stressors that you may have experienced during the lockdown or community quarantine, and the work-from-home situation
• Describe personal strengths and resources in navigating through the pandemic
• Develop new ways of managing stress, burnout, and other potential mental health issues, given the current work-from-home situation
• Create a personal self-care program to ensure a work-life balance
For the eighth session of the MaxiLIFE Well-being Webinar, we will be discussing “The Work from Home Phenomenon: How to Achieve Work and Home Life Balance”
Date: October 28, 2020 (Wednesday)
Join us by clicking on this link to sign up: http://bit.do/MaxiLIFEWebinar-TheWFHPhenomenon
The event is open to all, with prices indicated below:
Maxicare Member: FREE
Non Maxicare Member: P300
DAVAO CITY 07 October 2020 – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Consular Office (CO) in Davao City held a special webinar entitled “Taking Care of My Mental Health During the Pandemic” via Google Meet on 03 October 2020, with Dr. Maria Caridad H. Tarroja, PhD, RPsy as the resource speaker.
During the webinar, Dr. Tarroja discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic, along with public health measures such as social distancing, affects a person’s mental health. She shared the iCOPE strategy in taking care of one’s health by having a Compassionate Heart, Open Mind, Purposeful Spirit, and Engaging Body. She emphasized the benefits of self-care and the importance of planning and conducting self-care activities for a healthy mind and body.
In her closing remarks, Consular Office Officer-in-Charge Delza Lourdes D. Bayabao said that it is important to stay informed, stay connected with family and friends, look after one’s self and support each other to be able to cope during these difficult times. She thanked Dr. Tarroja for a very interesting and informative webinar and for sharing ways on how to take care of mental health that will truly benefit the personnel at work and at home.
The activity was organized by the Consular Office’s Gender and Development (GAD) Focal Point Officer Leila W. Fabian-Sulit, together with Alternate GAD FPO Karen G. Margallo as Moderator. The Resource Speaker, Dr. Maria Caridad H. Tarroja, PhD, RPsy, is Vice President of the Psychological Empowerment to Resources and Aspirations, Inc. She is the former President of the Psychological Association of the Philippines and was awarded 2016 PAP Outstanding Psychologist. END
SOURCE: Department of Foreign Affairs
Read more here: https://dfa.gov.ph/dfa-news/dfa-releasesupdate/27870-dfa-consular-office-in-davao-city-conducts-webinar-on-mental-health-care-during-the-pandemic
GMA News 24 Oras featured clinical psychologist Dra. Caridad Tarroja on 'Positive Distraction' during the ongoing pandemic situation Expert: Use ‘positive distraction’ to deal with anxiety, stress due to COVID-19 threat
“Positive distraction” is one of the activities people can do to help them deal with their anxiety and stress amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, according to an expert.
In Cata TIbayan’s report on “24 Oras” Thursday, psychologist Dr. Maria Caridad Tarroja said it’s normal to be anxious and stressed about the ongoing health crisis. However, it’s not healthy if the person thinks of the problem for the whole day.
Dra Tarroja is an associate professor at the De LaSalle University and a practicing clinical psychologist.
She is also the Vice-President of the Psychological Empowerment to Resources and Aspirations (P.E.R.A.), Inc.
Read more here: https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/lifestyle/healthandwellness/739346/expert-use-positive-distraction-to-deal-with-anxiety-stress-due-to-covid-19-threat/story/?utm_source=GMANews&utm_medium=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR2blhVJMRM61I4U_cq4TVPoAjBRt9EyYhMBIuKr4jKrlTW44Yaldnq2x40
Dra. Caridad Tarroja shared her advice on the 'New Normal Anxiety' experienced by people during the pandemic period.
Dra Tarroja is an associate professor at the De LaSalle University and a practicing clinical psychologist.
She is also the Vice-President of the Psychological Empowerment to Resources and Aspirations (P.E.R.A.), Inc. (www.perapinoy.com)
FB LINK: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=198291264721371
Dr. Ronaldo A. Motilla, also known as Doc Ron or Ronnie, has finally released his most awaited inspirational book which depicts transformation in life.
The book is all about triumph after overcoming battles in life.
Learn more about the book from the people who have read it.
We hope that the book will inspire and spark a sense of hope to those who are struggling in the journey in life.
Let the book of Doc Ron show you the way to a purposely positive life.
-- the P.E.R.A. team
Available at all St. Pauls bookstores NATIONWIDE @Php150.00 only.
You can get your own copy via online here: https://www.stpauls.ph/pro…/new-titles/purposely-positive-2/
There are many ways to incorporate your hobbies to promote your own mental health such as painting, knitting, or even dancing.
These activities can work quite well for artistic people, but there are also other expressive ways that can help when you are feeling down. One of these is writing therapy, and its psychological effects have been widely recognised.
This form of therapy was developed by James Pennebaker in the late 80s. Since then there has been much research that has revealed how beneficial it is: ranging from improving symptoms of those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis; as well as helping with recovery from childhood sexual abuse and postpartum depression.
It has also been proven to improve the state of mind for those with Parkinson’s, cancer and other health conditions.
A sensitive yet intriguing question especially if ones’s ultimate concern is on financial investment - the most common concern of people nowadays. Kaya ang tanong na, "Meron ka na bang pangalawang Pag-IBIG?" Masasagot mo ba ngayon?
The word Self-care or Tender Loving Care is commonly used in the day to day conversation among Filipinos. We have hair salons, foot spa, nail spa, brow spa, and different types of self-care clinics including the most recent ones – eyelash spa. We see them almost every day in television commercials, and in almost every mall in the country. All of them promoting awareness in how to take care of oneself, and each one of them end up with a huge impact on our bank accounts.
Getting the balance between giving ourselves some much-needed TLC (tender loving care) and making savvy spending choices can really be tricky. The issue is not in giving oneself a reward after a month of hard labor or a Saturday visit in one’s favorite hair salon because these will lead to a happier and healthier life. The issue is on the hefty price tag that comes along with it.
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