English Mental Health

Coping with Stress during COVID-19

As a mother, you don’t just care for yourself, you are also looking after your children, and often after other people in the house as well. So, you could be experiencing a lot of stress and worries during the epidemic of COVID-19.

You might be having scary thoughts about getting the virus: “What if something happens to my children?” or “If I get sick, who will look after my children?”

When daycares and schools close, you might have extra stress from having your children at home all day.

A lot of mothers are also worrying about how they are going to cope financially: “How am I going to cope if I can’t go to work?” or, “Is my partner or family member going to be able to keep earning?”, “How am I going to feed my kids and pay the bills?”

These fears are normal. You are not alone. A lot of people are having these worries. So, what can you do to stay calm and manage your stress during this time?

Acknowledge your feelings

These are some of the feelings, thoughts and fears that mothers could be experiencing during the coronavirus crisis: apprehension, depression, restlessness, irritation, anger, trouble sleeping, racing mind, helplessness. Those who smoke, drink or have an addiction, may find themselves doing more of these things.

These are all normal responses to a really abnormal situation. Acknowledge and name your feelings. Write them down, if you want. Tell yourself that you are not ‘mad’. Be kind to yourself.

Anxiety and Coronavirus symptoms similar

A lot of mothers are watching themselves and their children very closely for signs that they are getting sick. Remember that some of the symptoms of stress and panic are similar to those of the coronavirus, for example feeling hot, flushed and sweating, being short of breath, and having aches and pains. So, the fact that you have these, doesn’t mean necessarily that you or your kids have the coronavirus. Try to do something to ease the anxiety, and see if those symptoms get better.

You need information, but don’t lose control

It is very important to get the right information so you can stay safe, but sometimes the information is conflicting and it can feel too much.  So, limit it. Don’t have the TV news on ALL the time. Don’t be on social media ALL the time. And watch out for rumors and fake news. Rather go to official information sources (National Department of Health WhatsApp line +27 60 012 3456 send “hi” to join) to get the facts.

Distract yourself

We all need distractions during this time to take our minds off the stress. Make a list of things you and your family can do and enjoy doing during this time. Watch series, clean your house, cook, play computer games, knit, do puzzles, keep fit at home, plant vegetables, listen to music – anything that is going to help you pass the time. This is the time that you can do all the things that you don’t normally have time to do at home.

Help others

Helping other people can make you feel better. Get involved in helping your community to cope with COVID-19. Everyone has something to offer. Check in with your friends, family and neighbours and see how you can help each other. For example, take it in turns to go shopping. Check in with an organisation in your community and ask if they need help.

Ask for help

Don’t be shy to ask for support. Chat to a friend, relative or a counsellor over the phone. A lot of counselling organisations are offering counselling online and over the phone. Below is a list of some organisations that can listen and support you,

You can do this!

We are living in a time we have never been through as a society. As a mother, you have already probably faced a lot of stressful situations. Stress forces us to learn new ways of coping. Stressful situations can make us stronger and better people. You CAN overcome this!

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