Screen Time… Show some Grace

Screen Time… Show some Grace

We have been told to wash our hands, distance ourselves from others, and sanitize every surface as if our life depended on it to protect our physical health from contracting Coronavirus or COVID-19But how can we ensure we are protecting our mental health too in the midst of all of this chaos?  

With schools, offices and businesses coming to a temporary close to prevent the community spread of COVID-19, our daily routines have been interrupted and social isolation is becoming the reality for a majority of the worldwide population. 

The outbreak can bring on a number of stressors for individuals.  While many are fearful of contracting the disease or spreading it to a loved one, other common fears can come from being restricted socially. 

Everyone acknowledges stress in a different manner.

Outside of fear and worry, people may be experiencing other reactions to all of the added stress.  From changes in sleep and eating patterns, difficulty concentrating, worsening of other health problems, mental health issues or added anxieties, to increased negative behaviors such as substance or alcohol abuse.  Whether we are turning to the latest streaming services for escapism from everything, or turning to social media for advice, a bit of humor, connectedness or support, there’s one constant I think we are all starting to notice… screen time is likely beginning to rise dramatically in your homes.  

For the time being, we know online learning and working remotely are becoming the interim norm and we know individuals will be called to connect in whatever ways possible to carry out work and school.  Prolonged screen time seems inevitable.  

Despite our diligent work to ensure families aren’t spending too much time behind their devices and more time making personal connections, those connections have been pulled from us thanks to COVID-19.   We recognize that now may not be the time to put strict limits on what may be the only connection to outside civilization.   

Students who have been forced to leave the school setting may feel as though the relationships they have built with their peers are in jeopardy, or their connections to the outside world have been severed.   We know our seniors are beginning to realize they won’t get to experience those final big events, competitions, or graduation.  This is a time where they are going to turn to their devices to help them navigate through and cope with the chaos.   

This is a time where we can use our technologies to bridge the gaps created by social isolation and help people cope with some of the anxieties stemming from cabin fever.   In doing so, we hope our communities will continue to spread kindness and positively as much as they can during this incredibly difficult time.  

Additional Mental Health Resources:  

As we get ahead of the game and prevent the spread of COVID-19 it’s also necessary we act proactively regarding our mental health.  

  • Anxiety- Caring for anxiety brought on by this outbreak is important. This website was designed specifically for Coronavirus anxiety and offers numerous different tools to help conquer those anxious moments. It covers a range of mindful activities, mantras, seeking expert help and financial worries.
  • Children- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created a Coping after a Disaster activity coloring book to help children ages 3-10 process their feelings and communicate any emotions they may have regarding recent events.
  • Warmlines- Warmlines is a peer created line staffed with people who are recovering or have gone through similar things you or someone you know may be struggling with. 
  • Hotlines- If it is an emergency of any kind contact 911 or locates your nearest emergency room. For nonurgent conversations, Mental Health America offers a 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text MHA to 741741 for a text crisis line.

It’s only been a few days of self-quarantine for many, but it’s amazing to see how social media is allowing our communities to come together in ways we’ve never seen before.  Let’s keep the positivity going.  Share updates on how you are navigating everything in your homes.  As always, we are here to help!