COvid-19: Coping with isolation during Lockdown

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How to cope with isolation during the lockdown

Scott Kelly lived on a space station for one year and he shared some tips in the New York times of 21 March 2020 on how to survive isolation.

For him, a daily schedule, hobbies, daily connection with nature and people are some of the most critical activities. During a lockdown when the connection with people is limited, online contact can ease isolation and loneliness. He says it seems that planning and pacing what you will be doing every day is vital.  It gives purpose and keeps sanity. In a country like South Africa with its lovely mild weather, it is very difficult for most people to be confined in a home. We are used to living outside and enjoy wide-open spaces and nature.

Here are some well-written tips from Dr Eileen Feliciano on how to keep mentally healthy during a lockdown.


COvid-19 Tracker: South Africa

South Africa

Confirmed
1,559,960
+0 (24h)
Deaths
53,423
+0 (24h)
Recovered
1,485,315
95.21%
Active
21,222
1.36%

COvid-19 Tracker: Worldwide
Country Cases 24h Deaths 24h % Recovered % Active
USA 32,070,784 0 577,179 0 1.8% 24,626,410 76.8% 6,867,195
India 13,871,321 0 172,115 0 1.2% 12,332,688 88.9% 1,366,518
Brazil 13,601,566 0 358,718 0 2.6% 12,074,798 88.8% 1,168,050
France 5,106,329 0 99,480 0 1.9% 313,051 6.1% 4,693,798
Russia 4,657,883 0 103,601 0 2.2% 4,281,776 91.9% 272,506
UK 4,375,814 0 127,123 0 2.9% 3,992,416 91.2% 256,275
Turkey 3,962,760 0 34,455 0 0.9% 3,424,733 86.4% 503,572
Italy 3,793,033 0 115,088 0 3% 3,158,725 83.3% 519,220
Spain 3,376,548 0 76,625 0 2.3% 3,114,053 92.2% 185,870
Germany 3,031,836 0 79,408 0 2.6% 2,700,200 89.1% 252,228
Poland 2,599,850 0 59,126 0 2.3% 2,219,655 85.4% 321,069
Argentina 2,579,000 0 58,174 0 2.3% 2,262,875 87.7% 257,951
Colombia 2,569,314 0 66,482 0 2.6% 2,408,624 93.7% 94,208
Mexico 2,286,133 4,293 210,294 592 9.2% 1,815,237 79.4% 260,602
Iran 2,118,212 0 65,055 0 3.1% 1,729,293 81.6% 323,864
Ukraine 1,872,785 0 37,758 0 2% 1,430,234 76.4% 404,793
Peru 1,659,707 0 55,489 0 3.3% 1,584,425 95.5% 19,793
Czechia 1,585,037 0 28,038 0 1.8% 1,473,483 93% 83,516
Indonesia 1,577,526 0 42,782 0 2.7% 1,426,145 90.4% 108,599
South Africa 1,559,960 0 53,423 0 3.4% 1,485,315 95.2% 21,222
Netherlands 1,364,025 0 16,822 0 1.2% - 0% 1,347,203
Chile 1,088,710 0 24,518 0 2.3% 1,020,925 93.8% 43,267
Canada 1,078,562 0 23,392 0 2.2% 976,877 90.6% 78,293
Romania 1,012,373 0 25,441 0 2.5% 915,464 90.4% 71,468
Iraq 941,078 0 14,796 0 1.6% 826,323 87.8% 99,959
Belgium 927,229 0 23,503 0 2.5% 59,873 6.5% 843,853
Philippines 884,783 0 15,286 0 1.7% 703,963 79.6% 165,534
Sweden 876,506 0 13,660 0 1.6% - 0% 862,846
Israel 836,334 0 6,309 0 0.8% 826,768 98.9% 3,257
Portugal 828,173 0 16,923 0 2% 785,809 94.9% 25,441
Pakistan 729,920 0 15,619 0 2.1% 638,267 87.4% 76,034
Hungary 728,078 0 23,980 0 3.3% 431,124 59.2% 272,974
Bangladesh 697,985 0 9,891 0 1.4% 585,966 84% 102,128
Jordan 672,090 0 7,937 0 1.2% 610,614 90.9% 53,539
Serbia 648,745 0 5,808 0 0.9% 566,122 87.3% 76,815
Switzerland 625,367 0 10,472 0 1.7% 560,294 89.6% 54,601
Austria 581,263 0 9,748 0 1.7% 541,786 93.2% 29,729
Japan 508,802 0 9,425 0 1.9% 468,770 92.1% 30,607
Morocco 502,961 0 8,915 0 1.8% 489,288 97.3% 4,758
Lebanon 499,839 0 6,738 0 1.3% 411,710 82.4% 81,391
UAE 487,697 0 1,537 0 0.3% 471,906 96.8% 14,254
Saudi Arabia 400,228 0 6,773 0 1.7% 384,635 96.1% 8,820
Bulgaria 378,059 0 14,746 0 3.9% 293,351 77.6% 69,962
Slovakia 372,038 0 10,716 0 2.9% 255,300 68.6% 106,022
Malaysia 363,940 0 1,345 0 0.4% 346,295 95.2% 16,300
Panama 359,121 0 6,173 0 1.7% 348,953 97.2% 3,995
Ecuador 347,589 0 17,351 0 5% 298,604 85.9% 31,634
Belarus 337,635 0 2,373 0 0.7% 327,848 97.1% 7,414
Greece 301,103 0 9,054 0 3% 254,804 84.6% 37,245
Croatia 294,874 0 6,358 0 2.2% 276,420 93.7% 12,096
Georgia 290,129 0 3,894 0 1.3% 278,251 95.9% 7,984
Azerbaijan 289,601 0 3,978 0 1.4% 253,762 87.6% 31,861
Bolivia 284,183 1,099 12,496 27 4.4% 233,646 82.2% 38,041
Nepal 280,984 0 3,058 0 1.1% 274,318 97.6% 3,608
Tunisia 274,604 0 9,396 0 3.4% 228,267 83.1% 36,941
Kazakhstan 273,825 0 3,260 0 1.2% 235,862 86.1% 34,703
Palestine 272,767 0 2,901 0 1.1% 237,046 86.9% 32,820
Dominican Republic 258,637 0 3,397 0 1.3% 217,008 83.9% 38,232
Kuwait 250,273 0 1,419 0 0.6% 233,757 93.4% 15,097
Moldova 242,364 0 5,438 0 2.2% 225,036 92.9% 11,890
Ireland 241,684 0 4,803 0 2% 23,364 9.7% 213,517
Paraguay 240,141 0 4,978 0 2.1% 196,718 81.9% 38,445
Denmark 238,869 0 2,446 0 1% 228,007 95.5% 8,416
Ethiopia 232,512 0 3,230 0 1.4% 173,818 74.8% 55,464
Lithuania 227,889 0 3,713 0 1.6% 207,391 91% 16,785
Slovenia 227,836 0 4,130 0 1.8% 209,920 92.1% 13,786
Costa Rica 225,343 0 3,044 0 1.4% 196,060 87% 26,239
Egypt 212,130 0 12,526 0 5.9% 160,431 75.6% 39,173
Guatemala 205,322 0 7,057 0 3.4% 187,052 91.1% 11,213
Armenia 204,053 0 3,775 0 1.9% 183,660 90% 16,618
Honduras 196,086 0 4,861 0 2.5% 75,952 38.7% 115,273
Qatar 191,979 0 340 0 0.2% 170,787 89% 20,852
Bosnia 184,698 0 7,487 0 4.1% 141,602 76.7% 35,609
Venezuela 176,972 0 1,815 0 1% 159,547 90.2% 15,610
Oman 174,364 0 1,798 0 1% 154,771 88.8% 17,795
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 169,504 0 2,830 0 1.7% 154,220 91% 12,454
Nigeria 163,911 0 2,061 0 1.3% 154,225 94.1% 7,625
Bahrain 158,789 0 566 0 0.4% 147,162 92.7% 11,061
Uruguay 149,430 0 1,595 0 1.1% 116,533 78% 31,302
Kenya 147,147 0 2,394 0 1.6% 99,580 67.7% 45,173
Macedonia 143,162 0 4,289 0 3% 118,946 83.1% 19,927
Myanmar 142,596 0 3,206 0 2.2% 131,869 92.5% 7,521
Albania 128,752 0 2,326 0 1.8% 98,903 76.8% 27,523
Algeria 118,799 0 3,137 0 2.6% 82,813 69.7% 32,849
Estonia 115,080 0 1,049 0 0.9% 96,844 84.2% 17,187
S. Korea 111,419 731 1,782 7 1.6% 101,983 91.5% 7,654
Latvia 108,355 0 2,002 0 1.8% 99,840 92.1% 6,513
Norway 105,008 0 688 0 0.7% 88,952 84.7% 15,368
Sri Lanka 95,620 0 602 0 0.6% 91,926 96.1% 3,092
Montenegro 94,643 0 1,391 0 1.5% 89,235 94.3% 4,017
Ghana 91,410 0 761 0 0.8% 89,219 97.6% 1,430
Kyrgyzstan 90,599 0 1,532 0 1.7% 86,152 95.1% 2,915
China 90,447 12 4,636 0 5.1% 85,513 94.5% 298
Zambia 90,218 0 1,229 0 1.4% 88,144 97.7% 845
Cuba 88,445 0 476 0 0.5% 83,087 93.9% 4,882
Uzbekistan 85,291 0 634 0 0.7% 83,089 97.4% 1,568
Finland 82,564 0 877 0 1.1% 46,000 55.7% 35,687
Mozambique 68,871 0 794 0 1.2% 59,901 87% 8,176
El Salvador 66,657 0 2,054 0 3.1% 63,072 94.6% 1,531
Luxembourg 64,062 0 777 0 1.2% 60,012 93.7% 3,273
Cameroon 61,731 0 919 0 1.5% 56,926 92.2% 3,886
Singapore 60,692 0 30 0 0% 60,374 99.5% 288
Afghanistan 57,492 0 2,532 0 4.4% 52,013 90.5% 2,947
Cyprus 52,652 0 274 0 0.5% 39,061 74.2% 13,317
Namibia 45,949 0 586 0 1.3% 43,984 95.7% 1,379
Côte d'Ivoire 45,265 0 269 0 0.6% 44,771 98.9% 225
Botswana 43,444 0 663 0 1.5% 38,923 89.6% 3,858
Jamaica 42,924 0 682 0 1.6% 19,136 44.6% 23,106
Uganda 41,204 0 337 0 0.8% 40,779 99% 88
Senegal 39,495 0 1,081 0 2.7% 38,241 96.8% 173
Zimbabwe 37,330 0 1,543 0 4.1% 34,932 93.6% 855
Thailand 34,575 0 97 0 0.3% 28,288 81.8% 6,190
Malawi 33,872 0 1,133 0 3.3% 31,572 93.2% 1,167
Sudan 31,700 0 2,194 0 6.9% 25,451 80.3% 4,055
Malta 29,720 0 403 0 1.4% 28,756 96.8% 561
Australia 29,442 5 910 0 3.1% 26,380 89.6% 2,152
Madagascar 28,765 0 512 0 1.8% 24,410 84.9% 3,843
DRC 28,665 0 745 0 2.6% 25,841 90.1% 2,079
Maldives 25,759 0 67 0 0.3% 22,981 89.2% 2,711
Angola 23,697 0 554 0 2.3% 22,115 93.3% 1,028
Rwanda 23,603 0 316 0 1.3% 21,395 90.6% 1,892
Guinea 21,106 0 136 0 0.6% 18,686 88.5% 2,284
Gabon 20,971 0 129 0 0.6% 17,762 84.7% 3,080
Syrian Arab Republic 20,435 0 1,392 0 6.8% 14,230 69.6% 4,813
Mayotte 19,706 0 167 0 0.8% 2,964 15% 16,575
Cabo Verde 19,231 0 187 0 1% 17,487 90.9% 1,557
French Polynesia 18,678 0 141 0 0.8% 4,842 25.9% 13,695
Réunion 18,425 0 135 0 0.7% 16,794 91.1% 1,496
Swaziland 18,402 0 669 0 3.6% 17,682 96.1% 51
Mauritania 18,052 0 451 0 2.5% 17,398 96.4% 203
French Guiana 17,806 0 95 0 0.5% 9,995 56.1% 7,716
Mongolia 16,603 0 27 0 0.2% 9,887 59.5% 6,689
Tajikistan 13,308 0 90 0 0.7% 13,218 99.3% 0
Burkina Faso 12,989 0 153 0 1.2% 12,627 97.2% 209
Haiti 12,855 0 251 0 2% 11,513 89.6% 1,091
Guadeloupe 12,717 0 176 0 1.4% 2,242 17.6% 10,299
Andorra 12,614 0 121 0 1% 11,932 94.6% 561
Somalia 12,566 0 618 0 4.9% 5,270 41.9% 6,678
Belize 12,513 0 318 0 2.5% 12,137 97% 58
Mali 12,179 0 417 0 3.4% 7,194 59.1% 4,568
Togo 12,034 0 116 0 1% 9,303 77.3% 2,615
Hong Kong 11,608 0 207 0 1.8% 11,227 96.7% 174
Curaçao 11,430 0 74 0 0.6% 7,189 62.9% 4,167
Guyana 11,277 0 258 0 2.3% 9,796 86.9% 1,223
Lesotho 10,709 0 315 0 2.9% 5,028 47% 5,366
South Sudan 10,387 0 114 0 1.1% 10,148 97.7% 125
Aruba 10,122 0 92 0 0.9% 9,515 94% 515
Congo 10,084 0 137 0 1.4% 8,208 81.4% 1,739
Djibouti 10,077 0 102 0 1% 8,394 83.3% 1,581
Martinique 9,890 0 64 0 0.6% 98 1% 9,728
Bahamas 9,505 0 190 0 2% 8,965 94.3% 350
Suriname 9,363 0 184 0 2% 8,711 93% 468
Papua New Guinea 8,821 0 69 0 0.8% 846 9.6% 7,906
Trinidad and Tobago 8,511 0 146 0 1.7% 7,799 91.6% 566
Benin 7,515 0 93 0 1.2% 6,452 85.9% 970
Equatorial Guinea 7,219 0 106 0 1.5% 6,799 94.2% 314
Nicaragua 6,778 0 180 0 2.7% 4,225 62.3% 2,373
Iceland 6,274 0 29 0 0.5% 6,152 98.1% 93
Central African Republic 5,682 0 75 0 1.3% 5,112 90% 495
Gambia 5,602 0 168 0 3% 5,145 91.8% 289
Yemen 5,507 0 1,073 0 19.5% 2,070 37.6% 2,364
Niger 5,081 0 189 0 3.7% 4,760 93.7% 132
San Marino 4,985 0 86 0 1.7% 4,568 91.6% 331
Cambodia 4,696 0 33 0 0.7% 2,252 48% 2,411
Chad 4,652 0 167 0 3.6% 4,306 92.6% 179
Seychelles 4,633 0 25 0 0.5% 4,310 93% 298
Saint Lucia 4,355 0 64 0 1.5% 4,179 96% 112
Gibraltar 4,277 0 94 0 2.2% 4,181 97.8% 2
Channel Islands 4,053 0 86 0 2.1% 3,956 97.6% 11
Sierra Leone 4,009 0 79 0 2% 2,832 70.6% 1,098
Comoros 3,796 0 146 0 3.8% 3,582 94.4% 68
Barbados 3,740 0 44 0 1.2% 3,623 96.9% 73
Guinea-Bissau 3,693 0 66 0 1.8% 3,083 83.5% 544
Eritrea 3,469 0 10 0 0.3% 3,231 93.1% 228
Burundi 3,262 0 6 0 0.2% 773 23.7% 2,483
Liechtenstein 2,768 0 56 0 2% 2,634 95.2% 78
Vietnam 2,714 0 35 0 1.3% 2,445 90.1% 234
New Zealand 2,589 2 26 0 1% 2,462 95.1% 101
Monaco 2,378 0 31 0 1.3% 2,260 95% 87
Turks and Caicos Islands 2,360 0 17 0 0.7% 2,285 96.8% 58
Sao Tome and Principe 2,268 0 35 0 1.5% 2,192 96.6% 41
Sint Maarten 2,188 0 27 0 1.2% 2,124 97.1% 37
Liberia 2,042 0 85 0 4.2% 1,899 93% 58
Bermuda 1,912 0 16 0 0.8% 1,037 54.2% 859
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1,806 0 10 0 0.6% 1,665 92.2% 131
Saint Martin 1,693 0 12 0 0.7% 1,399 82.6% 282
Isle of Man 1,575 0 29 0 1.8% 1,445 91.7% 101
Caribbean Netherlands 1,526 0 14 0 0.9% 1,416 92.8% 96
Antigua and Barbuda 1,201 0 31 0 2.6% 947 78.9% 223
Mauritius 1,198 0 15 0 1.3% 797 66.5% 386
Timor-Leste 1,074 0 2 0 0.2% 550 51.2% 522
Taiwan 1,062 0 11 0 1% 1,027 96.7% 24
Bhutan 927 0 1 0 0.1% 875 94.4% 51
St. Barth 907 0 1 0 0.1% 462 50.9% 444
Diamond Princess 712 0 13 0 1.8% 699 98.2% 0
Faroe Islands 661 0 1 0 0.2% 660 99.8% 0
Cayman Islands 523 0 2 0 0.4% 498 95.2% 23
Tanzania 509 0 21 0 4.1% 183 36% 305
Wallis and Futuna 437 0 5 0 1.1% 44 10.1% 388
Brunei 219 0 3 0 1.4% 206 94.1% 10
British Virgin Islands 178 0 1 0 0.6% 159 89.3% 18
Dominica 165 0 0 0 0% 159 96.4% 6
Grenada 155 0 1 0 0.6% 152 98.1% 2
New Caledonia 121 0 0 0 0% 58 47.9% 63
Fiji 68 0 2 0 2.9% 64 94.1% 2
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) 60 0 0 0 0% 54 90% 6
Lao People's Democratic Republic 52 0 0 0 0% 49 94.2% 3
Macao 49 0 0 0 0% 48 98% 1
Saint Kitts and Nevis 44 0 0 0 0% 44 100% 0
Greenland 31 0 0 0 0% 31 100% 0
Holy See (Vatican City State) 27 0 0 0 0% 15 55.6% 12
Anguilla 25 0 0 0 0% 22 88% 3
Saint Pierre Miquelon 24 0 0 0 0% 24 100% 0
Montserrat 20 0 1 0 5% 19 95% 0
Solomon Islands 19 0 0 0 0% 18 94.7% 1
Western Sahara 10 0 1 0 10% 8 80% 1
MS Zaandam 9 0 2 0 22.2% 7 77.8% 0
Marshall Islands 4 0 0 0 0% 4 100% 0
Samoa 3 0 0 0 0% 2 66.7% 1
Vanuatu 3 0 0 0 0% 1 33.3% 2
Micronesia 1 0 0 0 0% 1 100% 0


25 MENTAL HEALTH WELLNESS TIPS for QUARANTINE

– from Eileen Feliciano

I can’t control a lot of what is going on with COVID-19 right now, but I can contribute this content to consolidate my advice and make a list that I hope is helpful to all.
Dr Eileen Feliciano. PsyD, Clinical Psychologist in Brooklyn, New York

1. Stick to a routine. Go to sleep and wake up at a reasonable time, write a varied schedule, and include time for work and self-care.

2. Get showered and dressed in comfortable clothes, wash your face, brush your teeth. Take the time to do a bath or a facial. Put on some bright colours. It is incredible how our dress can impact our mood.

3. Get out at least once a day, for at least thirty minutes. Open the windows and blast the fan. It is amazing how much fresh air can do for spirits.

4. Find some time to move each day, again daily for at least thirty minutes. If you don’t feel comfortable going outside, many YouTube videos offer free movement classes, and if all else fails, turn on the music and have a dance party!

5. Reach out to others, you guessed it, at least once daily for thirty minutes. Try to do FaceTime, Skype, phone calls, texting—connect with other people to seek and provide support. Don’t forget to do this for your children as well. Set up virtual playdates with friends daily via FaceTime, Facebook Messenger Kids, Zoom, etc—your kids miss their friends, too!

6. Stay hydrated and eat well. This may seem obvious, but stress and eating often don’t mix well, and we find ourselves over-indulging, forgetting to eat, and avoiding food. Drink plenty of water, eat some good and nutritious foods, and challenge yourself to learn how to cook something new!

7. Develop a self-care toolkit. This can look different for everyone. A lot of successful self-care strategies involve a sensory component (seven senses: touch, taste, sight, hearing, smell, vestibular (movement) and proprioceptive (comforting pressure). An idea for each: a soft blanket or stuffed animal, a hot chocolate, photos of vacations, soothing music, lavender or eucalyptus oil, a slight swing or rocking chair, a weighted blanket. A journal, an inspirational book, or a mandala colouring book is lovely, bubbles to blow or blowing watercolour on paper through a straw is visually appealing as well as work on the controlled breath. Mint gum, Listerine strips, ginger ale, frozen Starburst, ice packs, and cold are also suitable for anxiety regulation. For children, it is excellent to help them create a self-regulation comfort box (often a shoe-box or bin they can decorate) that they can use on the ready for first-aid when overwhelmed.

8. Spend extra time playing with children. Children will rarely communicate how they feel, but will often make a bid for attention and communication through play. Don’t be surprised to see therapeutic themes of illness, doctor visits, and isolation play through. Understand that play is cathartic and helpful for children—it is how they process their world and problem solve, and there’s a lot they are seeing and experiencing in the now.

9. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and a wide berth. A lot of cooped up time can bring out the worst in everyone. Each person will have moments when they will not be at their best. It is essential to move with grace through blowups, tot show up to every argument you are invited to, and tot hold grudges and continue disagreements. Everyone is doing the best they can to make it through this.

10. Everyone finds their own retreat space. Space is at a premium, particularly with city living. People must think through their own separate space for work and for relaxation. For children, help them identify a place where they can go to retreat when stressed. You can make this place cosy by using blankets, pillows, cushions, scarves, beanbags, tents, and “forts”. It is good to know that even when we are on top of each other, we have a special place to go to be alone.

11. Expect behavioural issues in children, and respond gently. We are all struggling with disruption in routine, none more than children, who rely on practices constructed by others to make them feel safe and to know what comes next. Expect increased anxiety, worries and fears, nightmares, difficulty separating or sleeping, testing limits, and meltdowns. Do not introduce major behavioural plans or consequences at this time—hold stable and focus on emotional connection.

12. Focus on safety and attachment. We will be living for a bit with the unprecedented demand for meeting all work deadlines, homeschooling children, running a sterile household, and making a lot of entertainment in confinement. We can get wrapped up in meeting expectations in all domains, but we must remember that these are scary and unpredictable times for children. Focus on strengthening the connection through time spent following their lead, through physical touch, through play, through therapeutic books, and via verbal reassurances that you will be there for them in this time.

13. Lower expectations and practice radical self-acceptance. This idea is connected with #12. We are doing too many things at this moment, under fear and stress. This does not make a formula for excellence. Instead, give yourself what psychologists call “radical self-acceptance”: accepting everything about yourself, your current situation, and your life without question, blame, or pushback. You cannot fail at this—there is no roadmap, no precedent for this, and we are all genuinely doing the best we can in an impossible situation.

14. Limit social media and COVID conversation, especially around children. One can find tons of information on COVID-19 to consume, and it changes minute to minute. The story is often sensationalized, negatively skewed, and alarmist. Find a few trusted sources that you can check in consistently, limit it to a few times a day, and set a time limit for yourself on how much you consume (again 30 minutes tops, 2-3 times daily). Keep news and alarming conversations out of earshot from children—they see and hear everything and become very frightened by what they hear.

15. Notice the good in the world, the helpers. There is a lot of scary, negative, and overwhelming information to take in regarding this pandemic. There are also a ton of stories of people sacrificing, donating, and supporting one another in miraculous ways. It is crucial to counter-balance the heavy information with hopeful information.

16. Help others. Find ways, big and small, to give back to others.

17. Find something you can control, and control the heck out of it. In moments of significant uncertainty and overwhelm, hold your little corner of the world. Organize your bookshelf, purge your closet, put together that furniture, group your toys. It helps to anchor and ground us when the more important things are chaotic.

18. Find a long-term project to dive into. Now is the time to learn how to play the keyboard, put together a vast jigsaw puzzle, start a 15 hour game of Risk, paint a picture, read the Harry Potter series, binge watch an 8-season show, crochet a blanket, solve a Rubix cube, or develop a new town in Animal Crossing. Find something that will keep you busy, distracted, and engaged to take breaks from what is going on in the outside world.

19. Engage in repetitive movements and left-right movements. Research has shown that repetitive movement (knitting, colouring, painting, clay sculpting, jump roping etc) especially left-right movement (running, drumming, skating, hopping) can be effective at self-soothing and maintaining self-regulation in moments of distress.

20. Find an expressive art and go for it. Our emotional brain is very receptive to the creative arts, and it is a direct portal for the release of feeling. Find something that is creative (sculpting, drawing, dancing, music, singing, playing) and give it your all. See how relieved you can feel. It is a very effective way of helping kids to emote and communicate as well!

21. Find lightness and humour in each day. There is a lot to be worried about, and with good reason. Counterbalance this heaviness with something funny each day: cat videos on YouTube, a stand-up show on Netflix, a funny movie—we all need a little comedic relief in our day, every day.


22. Reach out for help— LIVE CHAT is there for you. If you have a therapist or psychiatrist, they are available to you, even at a distance. Keep up your medications and your therapy sessions the best you can. If you are having difficulty coping, seek out help for the first time. There are mental health people on the ready to help you through this crisis. Your children’s teachers and related service providers will do anything within their power to help, especially for those parents tasked with the difficult task of being a whole treatment team to their child with unique challenges. Seek support groups of fellow home-schoolers, parents, and neighbours to feel connected. There is help and support out there, any time of the day—although we are physically distant, we can always connect virtually.

23. “Chunk” your quarantine, take it moment by moment. We have no road map for this. We don’t know what this will look like one day, one week, or one month from now. Often, when I work with patients with anxiety around overwhelming issues, I suggest that they engage in a strategy called “chunking”—focusing on whatever bite-sized piece of a challenge that feels manageable. Whether that be 5 minutes, a day, or a week at a time—find what feels doable for you, and set a timestamp for how far ahead in the future you will let yourself worry. Take each chunk one at a time, and move through stress in pieces.

24. Remind yourself daily that this is temporary. It seems amid this quarantine that it will never end. It is terrifying to think of the road stretching ahead of us. Please take time to remind yourself that although this is very scary and difficult, and will go on for an undetermined amount of time, it is a season of life and it will pass. We will return to freeing free, safe, busy, and connected in the days ahead.

25. Find the lesson. This whole crisis can seem sad, senseless, and at times, avoidable. When psychologists work with trauma, a key feature to helping someone work through said trauma is to help them find their agency, the potential positive outcomes they can effect, the meaning and construction that can come out of destruction. What can each of us learn here, in big and small ways, from this crisis? What needs to change in ourselves, our homes, our communities, our nation, and our world?

© 2020 Dr Eileen Feliciano. PsyD, Clinical Psychologist in Brooklyn, New York

We thank Eileen for her generous permission to use her article to help people in South Africa.  We appreciate your input!

Eileen Feliciano
NYS Certified School Psychologist
NYS Licensed Psychologist


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