Stay Calm, Have a Plan

If you are noticing anxiety in yourself or those around you these days you are not alone! With mention of covid-19 filling radio and television news, social media feeds and our email in boxes, it’s no wonder we are all anxious. Between the uncertainty of the real health risk and the hype, fear and anxiety are feelings that are both valid and common.

Health and education affects individuals, society and the economy. Schools are a perfect setting for working together and having a whole child approach to responding to health crises. One of the most efficient systems for reaching out to children and youth is  integrating health services and programmes more deeply into day to day life of school and represent a tool for raising academic achievement and improving learning.

4 areas of personal well being that can be affected

Physical

When under stress over time, our bodies react. Be alert to whether these symptoms have changed noticeably from the way you felt before. Be sure to see a doctor about any significant changes as many stress reactions mimic major physical disorders and diseases.

  • Headaches, tiredness, increased pulse, high blood pressure, changes in appetite, unexplained aches or pains, trouble sleeping, sleeping too much, stomach aches.

Emotional

Often our emotional reactions are the most confusing. We may laugh unexpectedly or yell in anger. We may feel irritable and grumpy. We also may feel intense fear or have unexplained sadness and crying. Always remember that all emotions are normal.

  • Panic, anxiety, distrust, fear, anger, irritability, sadness, depression, blame, feeling overwhelmed, increased stress.

Mental

The stress of pandemic flu may affect your ability to think clearly, and make it harder to pay attention, solve problems or remember. It does not mean that you are “crazy” or “losing your mind.” These are normal reactions in times of high stress. They are signals to you to take action and care for yourself.

  • Trouble concentrating, problems at work or school, memory problems, troubling thoughts, concern about health issues.

Behavioral

Some people burn “anxious energy” by pacing, fidgeting and other nervous habits. But some behaviors triggered by stressful events need to be stopped as they tend to make the situation worse. These things include increased smoking and drinking, blaming others, yelling, swearing, hitting and throwing things. Unfortunately, it is often the people that we love the most are the targets of these behaviors. If others are in danger due to your stress reactions, please seek professional help.

  • Withdrawal, substance abuse, aggression .

We wanted to provide you with a few ideas for managing those feelings.

  • Start with yourself

Before you help others with their feelings make sure you are ok – that you are calm enough to validate, reassure and support others. Practice your self care and Breathe.

  • Be aware of your own emotions and accept how you feel

With widespread illness,  real uncertainty exists. We may be worried about our own health and safety. Remind yourself that a certain level of anxiety is normal. Seek professional help if your anxiety or fear is getting in the way of your daily functioning.

 Focus on the facts

Consult reliable and up-to-date sources of information .

Centre for Disease Control website:

https://www.c dc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html.

  • Don’t be afraid to say no

If someone asks you to attend a social event or come to hug you or shake your hand and you are not interested, this is not a time to push yourself past your comfort zone. At a loss for words, try something like, “With all the germs going around I’ll take a rain check”.

  • Respect others decision but know what’s right for you

We all handle the news differently, you may know someone’s stocking up on Masks and paper goods. Others may be continuing to host parties, let them go about their business and think about what you need to do for your own physical and emotional well being.

  • Support others who are dealing with anxiety and uncertainty 
  1. Manage your own anxiety first.
  2. Don’t be afraid to discuss the situation, open communication sometimes is the best way to allay unpleasant emotions.
  3. Don’t assume you know how others and particular children are feeling when they are feeling that way, ask.
  4. Consider the age and developmental level of those with whom you speak.
  5. Reassure children with facts. Discuss what you are doing and what they can do to stay safe and geography.

Dealing with uncertainty of the current situation is difficult for everyone we want to support in any way we can. Below is a pyramid on how the hierarchy of professional help works for your reference.

 

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