PEP Blog


Staying Grounded During This March Madness

By Trish Pannuto

With all of the news about the Coronavirus, the turbulent stock market, and the ongoing presidential primaries, it’s not surprising that many of us are feeling just a wee-bit stressed. Over the years, when parenting in stressful times, I found myself pondering, “When did I become the adult here? Can I give back the keys to the car?” Alas, there is no putting that genie back in the bottle! 

Whether your child is 2, 12, or 24, they’ll be looking to you, the keeper of the keys, to see how you’re reacting, responding, and coping. They’re watching us all the time, what would we like to model? 

It’s hard to reassure our kids when we’re feeling anxious ourselves. How do we keep ourselves grounded? One approach that has worked for me is to focus on what I can control and to work hard at letting go of the rest. I’ve found great peace of mind being able to say to myself, “I’ve done everything I can right now.” The ideas listed below aren’t new or novel; most are common sense and revolve around the notion of taking care of ourselves.

  • Stick to a routine; regular bedtimes and healthy meals serve both kids and adults well
  • Move your body, exercise, walk the dog, practice yoga
  • Limit the amount of news you’re consuming and be mindful of what you’re watching when your children are nearby
  • Find alternatives to media consumption, read, play games, build a puzzle, watch something laugh-out-loud funny on TV
  • If you haven’t already started a meditation practice, this couldn’t be a better time. My favorite, Headspace, offers a two-week free trial
  • Phone a friend and consider deciding at the outset of the conversation how much time you’ll devote to current events
  • Join our free webinar, Talking With Kids About Coronoavirus, next Thursday, March 12th, at noon ET. We’ll be joined in the PEP studio by Child & Adolescent Therapist Emory Luce Baldwin to talk about tried and true strategies for helping kids process and understand scary events and identify things they can control

Did I need to include “Wash your hands” in this list? I bet not! What would you add; what has helped you stay grounded during times of distress?

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Parent Encouragement Program
10100 Connecticut Ave.
Kensington, MD 20895

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