As the number of local, provincial and national COVID-19 cases continue to rise, we are all bracing for the second wave. It’s completely natural to fear what this means for our families and our collective mental health.
Although the first wave was stressful, we can use it as a learning experience to help us be more mentally and physically prepared for what’s to come. Here are five tips to prepare and protect your family’s mental health for the oncoming second wave.
1) Pick Small Home Improvement/Crafting Projects – As the weather gets colder and days get shorter, we will need to spend more time inside. Talk with your kids about projects they may want to complete this fall/winter. Could their rooms use a fresh coat of paint? Is there a photo collage or scrapbooking project you could work on together? Choosing something with a clear before and after will help give you and your child a sense of accomplishment.
2) Create Safe Social Routines – Talk to your child and their friends/parents about potentially setting up Zoom dates. Even though it may be unsafe to meet in person, staying social is important for mental health, especially in the winter when Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may be a risk. Try weekly themes like baking cookies together, dressing up in costumes, taking Virtual Museum Tours or finding a card or board game your kids can play online.
3) Keep a Schedule – Whether or not you are going to a physical office or your kids are going into school, keeping a schedule and a routine can help maintain a sense of “normalcy”. Set a time to wake up, shower and get dressed every day, have planned breaks, and other planned times like family dinner, games or even screen time.
4) Learn from the First Wave – Take time to think about the toll the first wave took on your family’s mental health. Do you wish you would have sought counselling for your children or yourself? Were there supplies in your house you wish you had when you were quarantined? Stock up on essentials, look into counselling help for children at Front Door or another virtual service. Set up your family’s home work/school spaces more effectively and use your past knowledge to set yourself up better this time around.
5) Be Gentle with Yourself – This is a tough time for everyone, and we are all treading new waters. Allow yourself and your kids breaks, mental health days when needed, and anything else that you know helps your family to feel better and get through this. Although we are all in this together, we each need to take whatever paths work best to get us through it.
- Preparing for the Second Wave – Mental Health During COVID-19
- COVID-19: How to protect your mental health during second wave – Montreal Gazette
- 5 tips for handling your mental health during a second wave of COVID-19 – CTV News
- Mental Health Expert Advice for Coping with the Second Wave – The Observer