PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- With so much of our lives suddenly turned upside down due to the coronavirus pandemic, you are not alone if your stress level is at an all-time high.
Tracey Martin, a certified immersive transformational life coach in Scottsdale, helps adults and children navigate these challenging times. She says the anxiety caused by the coronavirus pandemic is exposing holes in our coping skills that we’ve never really had to deal with before.
“Do what you can do and what you know to do, and then live in that moment. Don't overthink it because nobody really knows what's going to happen. Nobody knows how long this is going to go on,” says Martin.
She said it’s important to keep a clear head, no matter how scary and uncertain the future can be. “You make the best choices when you're not emotionally reacting. You're mindfully responding,” she points out.
With so many people suddenly out of work, job insecurity is high. She advises to be proactive and not bury your head in the sand.
“Maybe this is actually an opportunity to start something that you've wanted to do but you haven't been able to. Your side hustle might become your main hustle,” said Martin.
Martin says it’s important to protect your brain from being inundated with too much news and social media. She suggest journaling and putting your thoughts on paper.
“I know it sounds like a little crazy. You know [a] frivolous thing. But it gets it off of your mind and into a book. And then, sometimes you can move on,” Martin explains.
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If you’re a parent who’s about to lose it after juggling working from home and teaching your children, she suggests giving the kids some control in terms of what schoolwork they want to tackle first and when. Prioritize your family and use this rare opportunity to see the beauty in a challenging situation.
“That relationship and your home life is above all else. And realize that the rest of the stuff will get done. You know, six weeks of math isn't going to, you know, kill him,” explains Martin.
The long-time life coach says it’s really important we don’t make adult problems our kids’ problems. Don’t freak out. Breathe. Communicate more than ever -- keeping close contact with friends and family members who keep you grounded. When you’re dealing with someone else’s emotions that are running high, she suggests being the person who brings the conversation back down to calm. “The only way through this is forward,” said Martin.
Tracey Martin's advice for navigating special circumstances
Martin believes this is a chance to teach powerful life skills and coping skills to kids who are living with a suddenly changed world (This is Gen Z's first crisis). She advises to make a daily practice to do these 3 things everyday:
- Pick up the phone and call two good friends. You are NOT allowed to talk about coronavirus. Only about future plans (no snap chat or DM).
- Schedule time to be outside. Maybe a hike or workout.
- FaceTime Fun - put together makeup tutorials or fashion plans with your friends.
- Take the time to audit all the accounts you are following that don’t meet you where you are. They should add something positive to your day.
For adults who are worried about jobs or finances, it's important to take a deep breath and use this time to organize your monthly budget:
- Actually put a pencil to it and get a good handle on your actual expenses and income.
- Be proactive and write letters to credit companies and others about the situation. Have it on file ready to email if you need.
- ALWAYS be proactive in your approach to this. DO NOT put your head in the sand and wait for a bail-out or government check.
- Be mindful of your energy in the home. This is adults’ problems that don’t belong on kids’ shoulders.
- Ask your employer if working from home is an option.
- Ask your employer if there is something that you could do to remain a valuable asset to the company. Nothing is too menial.
- Look into online businesses.
- Is this the time to start a business?
Parents who now find themselves “the teacher”:
- Remain the parent. Don’t try and take the place of your child’s teacher.
- Take the time to integrate life skills into the current situation.
- Keep communication open with your child, but give them tasks. Let them pick the assignments they want to do first. Empower them to make choices. There is no right one or wrong one.
- Ask your child when they feel the most focused and ready to do school.
- If you have multiple generations under one roof, incorporate the older generation. They usually have more patients than mom or dad and they probably aren’t trying to work from home at the same time.
- Above all else, remain connected. There is only six weeks left of school so decide which is more important, a well-adjusted child during this difficult time or a math assignment.
To learn more, visit Tracey Martin's website.