Taking Care of Yourself in a Time of Social Distancing

Taking Care of Yourself in a Time of Social Distancing

April 1, 2020 • ByAndrea Rosenberg, M. Ed.

How are you doing? How are you managing?

We know this is a difficult time to say the least and whether you are working from home, caring for your own children or other family members—we are all managing and coping with different challenges. We want to be here for you. There are a lot of resources out there on how to manage, and we wanted to give you some ideas about how Mercy Home is thinking about this time of social distancing* and crisis as it relates to trauma-informed care.

*During this time of “social distancing”, some are reframing it as “physical distancing.” Dr. Bruce Perry, a senior fellow at the Child Trauma Academy, tweeted “let’s all stay physically distant, but emotionally close.” We agree; relationships are essential during this time. Even though we may not be able to be physically together, let’s find ways to connect.

Foundations of Care

Make a Family Agreement along with the adults or kids in your household.

Set routines and rituals for you and your family:

  • Routines: Set a daily routine for you and your family that meets everyone’s needs. This means setting aside time for academics, eating meals, talking to friends, cleaning, and exercise. Spend time together and time alone.
  • Rituals: Set aside time on the weekends to have healthy rituals for yourself and your family. Play games, cook a special meal, or watch a movie together on the weekend.

Read and understand the facts. Get your information from credible news sources like CDC.org and Chicago.gov/coronavirus.

If you are interested in learning the science behind how stress impacts the body during this time—watch this!

Relationships and Caregiving

Develop a mindfulness practice. Here’s a start. Get your practice going here!

Make a phone call to vulnerable people in our society, make sure they are getting their basic needs met. Tell them joke! Try these.

Take a deep breath before you respond in a moment of frustration and respond thoughtfully.

Physical and Emotional Regulation

Take time for a few 10-minute exercise breaks throughout the day, a walk outside, or YouTube workouts. Science on stress supports several short breaks over one long break, but do what you can!

Have a dance party! D-Nice is hosting online dance parties on Instagram!

Give yourself permission to do what you need to do to feel better. This may mean a quick cat nap or stocking up on some cans of beans and favorite snack. Nobody said we can’t find moments of joy—I just made these scones to go with my morning coffee.

Chat with friends and family about other things than COVID-19, like the weather, games you are playing, or your rituals.

Social-Emotional Skills

Self-Care Plan: Make a self-care plan and set goals. How are you going to care for your physical and mental well-being during this time? Will you do 30 days of yoga with me? Write letters to people you care about?

Set Healthy Boundaries: This might mean limiting the times you access the news and social media. This might mean putting boundaries on the amount of contact with certain family members. If you are working from home, put boundaries on when and where you will work.

Be active in your resistance to infection but create balance instead of fear.

Resilience

Believe in our community and your own resilience!

All of these things will enable you to tolerate the stress and make meaning out of this time of crisis.

We hope these small ideas can provide you some guidance in how to survive this time of crisis. Remember to do what you need to survive this time of crisis—that looks different for each of us.

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