Never being able to nail anything down is stressing me out

Parenting in the age of a pandemic

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Dear Wellness Expert –

My most stressful challenge is having to wait every 2 weeks for a possible change in county designation for schools.  If it changes from green to yellow or red, now I have to worry about my job and ensuring that my daughter gets her education and the bills get paid.  It has added to an already stressful situation.
-              Stressed out by the Instability
Dear Stressed Out –

There are so many stressors families are facing. Work, school, bills, ever-changing COVID status and keeping track of what it all means. Now more than ever it’s critical to practice living in the moment as much as possible. With the possibility of county designations changing every two weeks, planning beyond two weeks will be a set-up for you and your daughter. Instead, try a technique called “chunking”; making plans in small increments of time – whether that’s a 24-hour period or even just one hour at a time. Chunking can also work when you’ve got too many tasks on your plate. Breaking tasks down into smaller, more manageable chunks can really help decrease stress, anxiety, and worry. And remember, you are doing the best you can in this extreme situation!
-              Angela Fileccia, LCSW, Acadia Healthy Life Resources Manager
You’ve got help

Parenting is challenging under the best of circumstances. Parenting during a pandemic is such an extreme departure from normal it alters the very nature of the job. All of a sudden, the expectations for what a day entails and what it requires becomes very different, just as it would if you moved from the desert to Antarctica. The days look different. The priorities are different. The standards are different. But one good thing; if ever there was an opportunity to put to bed the idea that consulting a mental health expert and taking care of our emotional health is anything other than the smart and normal thing to do, now is it. Remember, as a Northern Light employee, you have access to free 24-hour-a day counseling through our Employee Assistance Program. Call 1 – 800 – 769 – 9819. You may be very surprised by how much better it feels to have your experience validated and your course of action talked through. Another option is the 24 – hour Maine Crisis Line. That number is 1 – 888 – 568 – 1112.
The expert advice for the Wellness Wednesday Parenting in the Age of a Pandemic advice column is provided by EAP, Acadia Hospital or one of the many other behavioral health specialists practicing across Northern Light Health.