My friend and former mentor, Laura Kastner, PhD, wrote a very timely article for Seattle’s Parent Map. She describes three phases in our adjustment to Covid-19 anxiety: SPUR, LURCH, and COPE.
The SPUR phase includes shock, protest, understand, and respond. Covid-19 has shocked all of us with its rapid, and sometimes, deadly advance over America. After our initial shock, we began to protest that this couldn’t really be happening and “No, we don’t want to change our lives THAT MUCH”. Slowly, understanding set in and we began to understand that we all needed to take action for our families. As we began to accept the reality of our situation, we started to prepare a response.
The LURCH phase consists of lockdown prep, urgency of social distancing, risk checks, and hoarding. We prepared for the lockdown by cancelling previous plans and isolating ourselves at home as much as possible. Then came social distancing where we couldn’t be closer than 6 feet to loved ones, even grandparents. We began to check for risks by searching the web, asking friends, listening to the news. and trying to make informed decisions. Finally, irrational hoarding set in. Hoarding is one way to have some control in an uncontrollable situation.
The COPE phase contains connection, organization, perspective, and endurance. Dr. Kastner believes this phase involves a commitment to mental health and well-being for the long haul. During the crisis, we had to learn new ways to connect with others through increased interaction within our families and virtual communication outside our families. We needed to reorganize the realities of our new life which meant new routines and ways to structure our days. And finally perspective refers to the fact that we can always choose how we will respond in a hard situation. A Greek philosopher, Epictetus, is credited with saying, “It is not what happens to you, but how you react that matters.”. We may feel very anxious right now, a completely understandable feeling. However, feelings are not facts. Feelings will come and go like waves, but facts are informative and not emotional. Dealing in facts is one way we can calm ourselves, move forward, and endure this crisis.
To see Dr. Kastner’s complete article, click here.
Read Shrinking the Worry Monster to your children!
This is also the time to learn new ways to SHRINK ALL OUR WORRY MONSTERS! Our new book, Shrinking the Worry Monster, A Kid’s Guide for Saying Goodbye to Worries, couldn’t be more timely to give adults and children new ways to face their worries and learn to shrink them. Remember, feelings of worry are not facts. Shrinking the Worry Monster teaches children and adults new ways to shrink anxious feelings by dealing in facts and talking back to the Worry Monster. It is recommended reading for all families and professionals who work with children. See www.drsallyb.com for more information and ways to purchase the book. For more articles on the book, click here.