Five ways to stay the ’emotional tsunami’ from Covid-19.
Our future leaders are in our homes today. Love them well and see our children thrive.
A clinical psychologist, Suntosh Pillay, working in the public sector in KwaZulu-Natal expressed a view in an article on City Press that the Covid-19 has caused an “emotional tsunami”, which places another stress on an already tense society.
“We must never talk about keeping people physically healthy without a parallel conversation about keeping people emotionally well. We need to keep [the] conversation around mental health alive on all levels,”
Physical and mental well-being needs necessary attention.
Increasingly, the conversation is turning to care for families on all levels. The fallout since this pandemic took hold is more than just the virus; it includes trauma, increased depression, a marked rise in gender-based violence and a global economic crisis. How does this affect the way we rebuild our communities? How can we support our children, their teachers, the healthcare workers and poor or marginalized?
There are no straightforward answers, but I’d like to offer a few suggestions. When we work together, we can rise stronger than before.
Five ways to stay the ’emotional tsunami’.
It is said that the need to strengthen children’s psychosocial support is vital to their moving forward. A psychosocial approach looks at individuals in the context of the combined influence that psychological factors and the surrounding social environment have on their physical and mental wellness and their ability to function.
Put your oxygen mask on first.
We would do well to look at ourselves first. Consequently, what do we need to do as parents to lead our families during this time? On every single flight, they give a safety briefing. One instruction is that if oxygen is needed and the masks drop, then put it over your face first before you try to help others around you.
Isn’t this so true? Take care of yourself so that you can offer your children the support they need. Put your oxygen mask on.
Do you need to increase your exercise?
Are you spending time in prayer?
Are you investing in your relationships?
Let your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.
Secondly, look at your choices. Mandela was quoted as saying, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” Are you making choices reactively and out of fear? If so, what you afraid of? Turn your heart to the Lord and trust Him because He will lead you and guide you out of fear and into courage.
Thirdly, look at children and see what they need. Therefore, watch their body language, behaviours and habits. Take stock of their routine, diet and sleep patterns? Are they doing some exercise? What are they consuming, not only nutritionally, but online too?
Mental wellness is vital.
Fourth, consider the mental wellness of your children. Are they anxious? How can you get them to talk about what they are feeling and experiencing? What are their hopes for the future?
Please encourage them to talk about how they feel. Keep communication and conversation flowing by asking questions and listening to your child.
On a side note, help your child find someone to talk to if they don’t feel comfortable talking to you.
Facts not assumptions make a difference.
Fifth, work with the facts. Children often confuse information with truth or reality. Help them understand facts but keeping the lines of communication open and answering their questions with kind honesty. I’ve found that assumptions can mess things up, so encourage your children to listen to the facts.
If you’re a parent of a school-going learner, keep in contact with the school and support the staff. Don’t give in to fear-mongering or sharing news that might not be accurate. When we listen to facts, it will help us and our children feel in control.
A great conversation to keep going is one of staying healthy. Teach kids that staying healthy and having good hygiene habits can help them stay strong and well. Explain that regular hand washing also helps stop viruses from spreading to others, but that now you are going to be extra careful and do it a little more often.
A little bit of grace, tenderness mixed with facts will go a long way to keeping fear at bay and hope alive.
Extraordinary times are history-making times.
Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures. I want to leave you with one request: Can you reach out to someone today to encourage them – consider a colleague, a child, a teacher, a frontline worker or someone you pass by on the street.
The world needs a little more kindness right now, would you join me in spreading kindness and love. Encouragement is fuel for the soul and hope for the heart.
I’m passionate about encouraging families. If you need some of that, message me, and I’d love to talk with you or pray for you.
Who am I?
I’m passionate about inspiring people to live courageously. As a speaker, mentor and author, I work with families and women around the globe to help pursue their dreams and raise children with love and courage. As a mother of two, I long to see families restored and equipped. I serve locally in our communities and regularly speak on the radio on Courageous Living. Read more about my latest book here.
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