3 Tips to Help Parents Manage Stress in Quarantine

Published on July 24, 2020

Canaan, CT – With the pandemic showing few signs of
slowing down, many parents are struggling to adapt to the prolonged pressures
associated with quarantine. Juggling homeschooling or childcare responsibilities
during the stay-at-home order has been the norm for some families, with parents
trying to maintain work-life balance as they hold down their careers outside of
the office. The additional emotional labor often demanded of this time can create
a perfect storm for caregiver stress.

Caring for others can be a job in itself – one that can place those
who dedicate themselves to assisting the vulnerable at a heightened
risk
of experiencing chronic stress, depression, and anxiety. According to
the American Psychological Association’s latest “Stress in
America” survey
, the pandemic has exacerbated everyday pressures felt by
parents. On a scale of 1 to 10, parents rated their stress as a 6.7 on average,
compared to 5.5 for non-parents. The majority of participants cited economic strain,
the federal response to the pandemic, and the need to supervise their
children’s distance learning as their primary concerns.

“If you are feeling the pressure mounting as a caregiver, it can
mean that you are outputting more energy than what you are receiving or giving to
yourself,” says Anthony
Nave
, LCSW, Senior Manager of Outpatient Services at Mountainside treatment center. Nave
recommends implementing each of these tips three times per week at minimum:

1) Set aside time for leisure
activities.
The need to be both a parent and teacher can constitute a
significant time commitment, leaving caregivers feeling depleted and lacking
time for themselves. Self-care is essential not only for parents’ mental health
but also to set an example for their children that there can be a balance
between work and play. “Have fun! Is it streaming a show? Doing arts and
crafts? Make sure it’s something you know will consistently bring you joy,” Nave
recommends.

2) Keep in touch with those
connections.
Social distancing is not synonymous with social isolation. Parents
should remind themselves of this and maintain a support network consisting of fellow
parents experiencing similar obstacles, or others they trust. Nave suggests, “Call
a friend, create a Zoom party with family, talk to someone about what’s been
causing you stress… a problem shared really can be a problem halved.”

3) Nurture the spirit. During
these complex times, parents may need to make an additional effort to slow down,
recognize that these are not “normal” circumstances, and be flexible with their
expectations of themselves and their children.  When parents catch themselves ruminating on
fear or self-doubt, Nave advises, “Connect to your spirituality, whether
through organized religion, meditating, or simply by being in nature, whatever
spirituality means to you. Opening ourselves to the idea that there’s something
bigger than ourselves can lift some of the weight of stress.”

Parents are the foundation of the family unit. As quarantine and
coronavirus concerns intensify parenting challenges, parents must therefore try
to treat themselves with kindness. “Being a caregiver can be both rewarding and
overwhelming, so we must remember to periodically check in with ourselves and
our own needs to reach our greatest potential as helpers,” says Nave.

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Mountainside Treatment Center

Mountainside is a dually accredited rehabilitation facility,
nationally recognized for the effectiveness of its drug and alcohol addiction
treatment programs. Our Integrative Care Model provides a comprehensive set of
treatment and care offerings coordinated by a multidisciplinary treatment team
to best fit the unique needs and interests of each client. We are lauded for
our ability to partner with each client and the client’s family and healthcare
professionals in developing and executing individualized treatment plans that
promote long-term sobriety. Learn more about Mountainside at mountainside.com.