I had the pleasure to interview Mental Health Counsellor Robyn Schreter during COVID, she gives great tips about anxiety. Enjoy the interview!

  1. What is your advice for parents to manage their own anxiety in these difficult times?

Each family has been affected by COVID 19 in one way or another and daily routines and structures have been stripped away…pretty much overnight. Given these circumstances and the unpredictability of it all, it is only normal to experience some degree of anxiety. You are not alone. Here are some tips that can help:

-communicate how you feel with your support system: keeping anxious feelings inside build up and can feed anxieties

– Incorporate physical exercise as much as possible: get your body moving and heart pumping 

-practice self-care: do something for yourself that you enjoy doing just for you (not something that you have to do!)

– minimize exposure to the news: when we are over exposed to the news it can consume the mind and increases anxiety

– write down what makes you anxious- Is there something you can control or change about it? 

– start a new hobby that you’ve always had an interest in but never had the time

  • How can kids manage their own anxiety?

One of the best ways kids can learn how to manage their own anxiety is by learning from parents, that’s you. Kids are constantly learning from parental behaviours. Model for your kids that sometimes it is okay to be worried or nervous (no feelings are bad!) and teach them what strategies work for you. Give your child the opportunity to talk about their feelings and help them understand why they might be feeling this way. These are the first steps in helping them regulate their own emotions. 

Help your child build their own coping skills “toolkit” with strategies that work for them). Here are some ideas:

  • Relaxation techniques (ex: deep breathing)
  • Exercise & outdoor time
  • Journal writing
  • Drawing or painting
  • Chatting or FaceTiming with friends (to feel more socially connected)
  • Create a “calm down” box with your child with items such as stress manipulatives (squishy ball, play dough, putty..), soft toys, paper and crayons… include other items your child might like! 
  • How can we help our kids to better live this “stay at home” situation?

Parents are wearing (or trying to wear) many hats these days- home schooling, working from home, cooking, cleaning…etc. The boundaries between each role can get blurred. It is important to try and create somewhat of a routine and structure at home. The more predictability kids have in their day, the more in control they will feel. If you don’t view this “stay at home” as a totally negative experience, neither will your kids. Make the best of it by spending more family quality time and finding the “silver linings” to staying at home together.

  •  Once we are back in normal life, what is the first thing you would like to do?

The first thing I’m going to do, some self care salon primping! I’m thinking manicure, pedicure 🙂

If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything further, please feel free to contact Robyn robyn.schreter@gmail.com

*Please note that if you see significant changes in your our own behaviours or your child’s behaviour, where anxiety is prolonged and inhibits daily functioning, it is always best to seek professional help. 

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Robyn Schreter