Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness, Parenting/Running/Pets

How do I manage my mental health during the Coronavirus?

Lenten Reflection #35

Experiencing and processing our emotions during this time of uncertainty may be new for some of us. Personally, running and exercise provide the daily respite I need to keep my sanity.

Luckily, there are several ways for all of us to manage this new inevitable stress seeping into our lives.

According to the CDC:

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Here’s what they recommend:

Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.

  1. Take care of your body.
  2. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
  3. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
  4. Exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep.
  5. Avoid alcohol and drugs.
  6. Make time to unwind. 
  7. Do other activities you enjoy.
  8. Connect with others.
  9. Sleep – it will improve your brain health.
  10. Know the long term effects of social isolation.

With the spread continuing and the fear of what lies ahead looming, we must continue to optimize our human resilience. People throughout history have made it through terrible times and as their descendants, we will too. a955307432ce1e28b4c6c3ff966169cc.jpg

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

From Spanish Flu to COVID-19 – we’ve been here before…

#24 Lenten Reflections

We constantly hear we are living in unprecedented times, navigating a road less traveled, however…

About 100 years ago, the Spanish Influenza is said to have rooted in an army camp in Kansas. The first wave passed through the United States and went seemingly unnoticed. As soldiers traveled around the world, the infection spread rapidly. The virus did not stop in the trenches, in fact, influenza became more aggressive. As the virus evolved and returned from Europe to the United States, it continued to infect communities all over the United States and did not discriminate.

Sound familiar?

In an interview on Hidden Brain with NPR’s Shankar VedantamHistorian Nancy Bristow weighs in on the Spanish Flu and how its history has been cloaked under the guise of World War I.

“To remember the flu would be to admit to the lack of control that people had had over their own health. It would be to admit that the United States was not necessarily all-powerful, but was like everywhere else in the world: subject as victims to something beyond their control,” she says.

In the time of the Spanish Flu, some cities listened to the guidelines, others lost patience and slipped away from the inconvenient restrictions. Listen here to the full interview.


Another telling story comes from Kara N. Goldman, M.D., an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She compares the Spanish flu with COVID-19. Her story The white scarf on the door: a life-saving lesson from the 1918 Spanish flu is compelling.

She begins, “In 1918, a white scarf tied to the door of my grandmother’s family’s apartment on the North Side of Chicago alerted the community to a virus residing within. My grandmother, then age 3, was one of 500 million people worldwide — one-third of the planet’s population — who was infected with what came to be known as the Spanish influenza. It killed an estimated 50 million people.”


For eight years, I worked in the public health sector. My mission was focused on caring for Hispanic communities throughout the United States and ensuring they had access to health care and immunizations.

People need to heed the instructions of public health experts.

The final death or diagnosis caused by COVID-19 isn’t penciled in on a calendar, nor is it going away anytime soon. Like the Spanish Flu, COVID-19 will go through waves, and like the ocean, they will just keep coming. No pause. No warning. No mercy. So listen to the experts, keep your Easter bonnet in the closet and be patient. The dominoes that have tumbled have yet to finish their fall.

 

 

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness, Parenting/Running/Pets, siblings

Being home: from homework to hunger

Lenten Reflections #23

They are home.

Elementary school kids are home with their parents learning to tie their shoes, tell time, count money. Tweens are spared from what can be tumultuous middle school moments, and high school students are navigating Chemistry labs, Rhetorical Analysis, and document-based questions (DBQ’s). All at home.

DIFFERENCES

I called to check in on my students and their families today.

The gamut ran from,

“We’re doing well. He just finished working on sequencing and now I’m teaching him how to tell time from an analog clock.”

TO

“I haven’t heard from my social worker, I don’t know how I’m going to feed my two children, my parents are quarantined and I have to have surgery on Thursday.”

My gosh. Just when I started to grumble about making dinner, I thought of the families who have nothing…NOTHING to bring to the table.

Note: I was able to contact our administrators and they connected the family with MUST Ministry who would help provide meals for the family.

This was true testimony that while some grapple with studying, some are trying to survive. As parents we simply want our kids to be happy, learn and sidestep struggle. We want to do our best…and make them their best selves.

LET THEM LEARN HOW TO LEARN…

Just today, I felt like a rock star when I was able to help my youngest son with his 8th-grade Algebra, yet completely useless when my daughter was working on her Physics lab. One child asks for help, another tackles the work until every eraser in our home is worn.

My son who is a Sophomore incorporates breaks into his studies. Every 30 minutes or so he rides his bike, walks the dogs or works on projects in the garage. His brother shoots baskets outside or plays fetch with the dogs. A stark difference from a 6-minute transition between one-hour and 45-minute classes.

My daughter stays the course, she should wear a t-shirt with Einstein’s words: “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

They each know how they learn best. They have to know.

As they made their lunches today I asked them to pray for those who are hungry or sick or lonely…and Seniors everywhere who are longing for the proper graduation they deserve, but may have to sacrifice for the betterment of all.

The majority of kids truly miss school. They long for their friends, the guarantee of meals, the routine. 

After prayers tonight I reminded them to count their blessings.

As we all should.

Be smart. Be kind.

 

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness, Parenting/Running/Pets, siblings

A worldwide crisis: how are you handling it? Your kids are watching.

Lenten Reflections #22

Now more than ever. We’re home. Everything we say, do and react to is being watched. By our kids.

We’re not only working from home, but now we are also homeschooling, prepping meals, and parsing out necessities, as to not run out of what we need.

We’re calling family, checking in on friends, discovering Zoom.

We’re trying REALLY hard not to go to the grocery store, yet dash in, hold our breath (maybe just me) and grab a gallon of milk.

We’re anxious, scared, and unsure.

As we set up our offices on kitchen counters and stumble over saxophones in our closet which is now a makeshift practice studio, we can still be positive, we can still be hopeful.

More importantly, we can be honest and patient and vigilant. Because our kids are watching, and learning from us.

Homeschooling is not just about knowing the correct password to log into a website loaded with lessons and videos. Oh no. It’s game on. They are learning from us. Our kids are watching and they are looking for hope and joy and normalcy. 

The blessing is we are doing this together. Building memories and waiting calmly until it is TRULY safe to move forward.

Until then, stay home, stay safe, and stay strong.