How to Deal with Family Stress during COVID-19
Especially with Family Law and Divorce Issues
Going through a divorce and/or other family law issues (i.e. custody, child support) is incredibly stressful in and of itself. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic brought financial, emotional, and psychological anxiety to families from all walks of life across the globe. And now, some of those families are having to deal with both family law issues and the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic all at once. Some couples have decided to end their marriage and are trying to work through the divorce process while still living together due to COVID-19. Some parents, sadly, are using the Stay-at-Home Orders to try to keep the other parent from seeing the child(ren). Some people are struggling to determine how they can pay for a family law attorney that they desperately need.
Wow!! How can we, as human beings, even begin to manage all this family stress and anxiety in a way that is best for our minds and our bodies?
Dr. Sheela Reddy**, a Psychologist and Executive Coach in Columbia, Maryland provides four steps to achieve mindfulness and inner calm for those struggling to manage the type of anxiety brought on by family law issues and the COVID-19 pandemic concurrently. As you read these suggestions ask yourself “How can I make these fit into my life and in a way that works for me?”, otherwise, it is not likely that you will follow them.
Find a way to self-soothe your mind and distract it from the repetitive worry loop. This can be done by finding a hobby or an activity that soothes and distracts you. It does not have to be fancy. It could be taking a bath, lighting a candle, knitting. Surprisingly, many people take very little “just me soothing time” in a day.
Find some way to move in short spurts or in intervals for at least 30-45 minutes. This does not mean you have to suddenly start lifting weights when you never did that before and do not find that sort of thing fun. Find a way to move that you enjoy, whether it is walking, cleaning the house, taking the dog for a walk, running. If you need motivation, find a work-out partner. This helps keep you accountable.
Find a way to sit and just breathe. You do not have to be an expert meditator. There are a lot of YouTube channels with free, short yoga videos.
4. Find Control
Do things that make you feel “in control” and “accomplished.” A lot of stress and anxiety we as humans face is due to events beyond our control. Finding a way to feel in control, like making a to-do list, and working on something from that list every day will help you feel accomplished and in the driver’s seat, which eases anxiety.
Finally, a practical piece of advice your author has learned over the course of her life is to simply take a few minutes, or perhaps 20- 30 minutes (maybe less if you have kids, understandably), when you first wake up. Do not check your email right away. Do not turn on the news. Those things can wait, and rest assured, they will be still be there, waiting for you. When you first wake up, start your day with something that lifts your mood. Relax in a hot shower, stretch, enjoy a cup of coffee, be in the moment making breakfast for the family, call a family member, connect, turn on soothing or fun music. The stress of the world and work will be there. It is remarkable how your day can transform differently when you let those first moments of your day start off with calm energy.
-Tracey Perrick, Esquire
ARN Family Law
**Dr. Sheela Reddy MS. Ed.D can be found at: www.spiritherapy.com/
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