We've pulled together some resources that we hope you'll find helpful in caring for yourself, family and others. Please scroll down to read:
- Managing Stress in Times of Crisis
- Helping the Children in Our Lives Cope including additional resources for youth and parents
- Ten Ways to Take Ten
- Guide to More Efficient & Fun Online Meetings
- Other Resources
Keep checking back for
new resources and links
Managing Stress in Times of Crisis
There are signs of RESILIENCE everywhere, as we cope with how much life has changed in such a short amount of time. Within a week Social Distancing went from a new term to the norm. Businesses, schools and colleges are figuring out how to function remotely. And strangers began helping one another as grocery stores went from plentiful to empty.
There are actions all of us can take that are within our sphere of control to manage our worries and concerns adaptively. With so many unanswered questions, our brains, bodies, and emotions may react in many ways. When we don’t feel in control, worry, anxiety, fear and unease are all very common. We may also notice that we aren’t sleeping well, have headaches or stomachaches. We may not feel like ourselves. There is hope in knowing that by taking small steps to exercise control where we can, it will help us feel better. And then we can help our loved ones, too!
Start with the Basics…
In order to function at our best, it is important to take care of ourselves physically. Although schedules and routines may be in flux, try your best:
- To Get Regular Sleep (7-9 hours/night)
- Eat Balanced and Nutritious Meals
- Keep Hydrated and Exercise
Sleep and healthy food and hydration will help to restore our bodies and mind and exercise can boost our endorphins (“feel good’ hormones) and help to flush out stress hormones.
Social Distancing vs. Social Isolation…
Based on the guidance from public health officials it makes good sense to practice social distancing. However, this does not equate to social isolation. This is an opportunity to harness technology to allow us to connect. Instead of texting, try calling or having a video chat with family, friends, and colleagues. Also consider setting up various group chats with family, friends and co-workers to increase communication and easily stay in touch.
Monitor What You Consume…
With the news everchanging is it understandable why we may want to keep checking the latest headlines and monitoring feeds to keep on top of what is happening. Select one or two trusted sites that provide clear, concise information. You may think about cdc.gov or your local Public Health Department. It is important to give yourself news breaks whether that is turning off the television, computer or phone and engaging in alternate activities. It may even be a good idea to set reminders to check only once or twice a day to help you take mental and emotional space. Also, be mindful of your conversations and how often and with whom you talk about what is happening. Identify those in your social network who provide support versus those who tend to amplify anxiety.
Look for Opportunities to Help…
In time of crisis, we may experience feelings of helplessness or powerlessness, however there are opportunities for us to help each other. Check on elderly neighbors and offer to pick up groceries if you are heading to the store. If you have a friend, family member or neighbor who is a first responder, healthcare or public health worker, send a note of thanks and/or a token of appreciation. Donate canned or boxed goods to a local shelter. These seemingly small acts of kindness go a long way both for the recipient and yourself.
Of the approximately 80,000 thoughts we have each day, our minds are naturally geared towards the negative (i.e., what could go wrong). This is adaptive in that it allows us to plan and problem solve. However, when we are under stress, we can get stuck in these negative loops. Try setting a time each day – in the morning when you wake up or at night before bed – to write down or share with someone, what you are grateful for that day. A gratitude practice has been shown to improve mental well-being and enhance empathy.
In times of crisis it may feel like we must remain serious and that it is inappropriate to laugh or have fun. Laughter, however, truly can be the best medicine. Engage in activities that you enjoy and make your feel good. Connect with people you enjoy and make your feel good. Share a funny story, video or meme with those around you and your online social network.
Below you will find some additional resources (click on the images below) that may be helpful in caring for yourself, family and others in the coming days and weeks:
Download a PDF version of Managing Stress in Times of Crisis:
Helping the Children and Youth in Our Lives Cope
We know that even in times of biggest crisis, if adults are coping well, children will cope well. Role model good self-care and emphasize healthy habits– “good sleep, nutrition, exercise and hand washing help us stay healthy.” Or “Our best way to help is to do what we know to do to stay healthy: get good sleep, wash hands, sneeze/cough into our elbows and drink lots of water.”
Contribution is an important part of building resilience. It also supports another aspect, control. Helping children and teens learn how they are contributing to positive coping can be a great way to help grow their own resilience. Link their use of healthy habits as an important contribution to their community’s health and safety. Another way might be checking in and making sure that more vulnerable loved ones have what they need.
Good for us all, and helpful for children. Be thoughtful about children and adolescents’ independent access to news or what peers are saying online. Talk things through and clarify any misconceptions or untruths. Take the opportunity to talk about credible sources and offer suggestions that may be the most helpful. Beyond online sources, breaks are also needed from traditional media coverage -like television and radio.
Children deserve truthful answers that match their developmental stage. If a child/teen has a direct question that you don’t know the answer to, it is ok to say, “that’s a good question” and share that you don’t know the answer. In some cases, you may be able to obtain the information. In others, you may share that this is unknown for now, but more will be learned in the coming days or weeks. Offer that once you learn the information; you will share it.
Like all of us, children and teens may notice they are reacting in different ways. They may worry that their reactions aren’t “normal” or that they are “crazy”. Let them know that stress can show up in thoughts, feelings, bodies and behavior. One example may be experiencing headaches, stomachaches, or lack of sleep. Feeling restless, sad or worried are also common, as is irritability. Being disappointed about how activities may be cancelled or delayed is understandable and fair. We may notice that our children and even our teens may be sticking closer to parents/caregivers or needing more assistance to fall asleep or stay asleep independently. Offer hope that by sticking together, talking to each other, giving and receiving comfort and practicing healthy habits we can and will feel better over time – even when things are uncertain.
Here are some recommendations to follow:
- Allow room for questions over time
- Stick to facts
- Continue to follow normal routines like dinner and bedtime. Maintain limits on behavior and expectations.
- Focus on what can be controlled (i.e. social distancing, hand washing)
- Promote positive habits
- Encourage stress-management activities and find ways for new fun
- Let them know you and others are here if they need to talk or need a break
- Listen and validate feelings
Brighten Someone’s Day!
Children and youth have a unique talent at bringing hope and fun to others. Asking them to make a daily phone call or video chat to loved ones, create a funny Tik Tok to share or send a meme can be great ways to stay connected through social distance.
Download a PDF version of Helping the Children and Youth in Our Lives Cope
Here are some additional resources (click on images below) for you and the children/youth in your lives:
Managing Time at Home...
For Children and Youth...
Resources from the Child Mind Institute | Harvard University (available in Spanish)
Helpful Resources to Use While Schooling From Home
As we are adhering to guidelines provided by health officials related to COVID-19, and working remotely to ensure the health and safety of our staff, one thing remains sure during these uncertain times, kids need to stay engaged to ensure gains are not lost. Our state, county and city governments are working diligently to provide access to much needed community resources. As a coalition of partners who care about children, we are sharing resources for parents and caregivers to utilize while schooling from home.
Click this link to see more helpful resources: https://thechildrensagenda.salsalabs.org/rtfhelpfulresources
A Toolkit for Helping Your Child Wear a Mask During COVID-19
Helping our children wear face coverings is highly important these days, but often times it can be difficult for a plethora of reasons. Licensed psychologists at the Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities in the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center created a toolkit dedicated solely to helping parents help their children wear a face covering. The toolkit contains numerous tips for success in face covering wearing among children. Download the PDF version here.
Ten Ways to Take Ten!
With many of us moving to working remotely over the past week, we may find ourselves wondering what the new work etiquette is. Is it okay to take breaks? If so, how often and how many? Will my supervisor think that I am slacking off if I don’t respond immediately to an e-mail or call? Many of us may feel that with so much happening so quickly that we can’t stay away from the computer or phone. However, we know that to perform at our best, in any setting, we need to take brain breaks to refresh. This is even more true, when working remotely in front of a computer screen for most of the day. Here are ten ways to take ten-minute breaks:
1. Select a favorite flavor and prepare as desired. Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit. Notice the warmth coming through the mug into your hand. Before taking the first sip, pause to inhale the smell. Enjoy the warmth as it travels from your mouth, down your throat into your belly. Repeat.
2. Find a time for you to connect with co-workers to catch up with each other. Give a tour of your new home office and office mates (i.e., pets, children, partners, plants, etc.). Share a funny or inspiring story.
3. Go outside for a walk or just to sit and breathe in the fresh air. Notice the sensation of the air and sun (hopefully!) on your skin. Take in the ever-changing environment – the buds turning into flowers and leaves, trees and grass turning green, and the return of birds.
4. It is important to get up and move at least once an hour. Even while sitting you can do shoulder or neck rolls or stand behind your chair to do some calf raises or slow squats. Take a walk around your house or go outside (see number #3).
5. Take out a deck of cards and play a round of solitaire, work on a crossword puzzle or Soduko, or take out that 1000-piece puzzle you have been meaning to start. While many of these activities can be done online, try going old school to give your eyes a well needed screen break.
6. Let out your inner artist and try drawing a picture, just doodle, or color a mandala. Share with your co-workers on your next video check-in or decorate your home office. Need an idea – try a suggestion generator like https://drawfee-generator.com/
7. Make a few “take ten” play list of your favorite songs. This is a real bonus of working from home instead of in the office because you can sing out loud (and dance) along!
8. Pause and breathe. If you are able, find an alternate space where you can sit undisturbed. Sit comfortably with an alert posture and eyes closed or with a soft gaze. Now, follow your breath in and out. There are many free guided mediations online such as https://insighttimer.com/
9. Prepare a snack and arrange it on a plate as if you were serving it to someone special (because you are!). Sit down. Before eating, offer thanks to all the went into the food arriving on your plate – the sun, rain, and earth needed for it to grow, the people who planted and harvested it, and the individuals who transported it. Notice the colors, smells and flavors as you enjoy your dish.
10. This one may be the most challenging. Try sitting or standing without the need to do anything at all. Just allow everything to slow down to this moment as it is. If the mind wanders, which it will, notice and gently bring your attention back to now.
Download a PDF version of Ten Ways to Take Ten.
Guide to More Efficient & Fun Online Meetings
There's a ton of information out there on holding online meetings. This guide is designed to help you facilitate online meetings. Facilitation is an important part of any meeting but the tools it takes to do it well are a little different online.
An Important thing to remember when hosting an online meeting is that none if the participants will be able to tell what's going on for other people in the group in the same way that they could in real life (IRL). An enormous amount of the information we exchange in an IRL meeting comes from the body language, facial expressions, and tones of our collegues. In a virtual meeting space, our abilities to accurately read these cues are diminished so we're not getting as much information as we normally would. Compensating for this may be one of the biggest and most important jobs of an online facilitator. And just like any other meeting, good facilitation happens BEFORE YOU EVEN ENTER THE ROOM, virtual or otherwise.
If you have any questions or looking for more information please contact:
Director of Practice Transformation
Coordinated Care Services, Inc.
Download a PDF version of Guide to More Efficient & Fun Online Meetings.
OMH has a new educational video on the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine posted to Youtube. The video is in Spanish, and features Ms. Evelyn Mendez and Dr. Roger Beauplan from Pilgrim Psychiatric Center. It is available here.
OMH’s previously distributed vaccination videos can be found here.
NY Project Hope: Coping with COVID
COVID-19 has changed a lot about how we live our lives, from daily routines at home to how we do our jobs. For many, work can feel uncertain and overwhelming.
The trained crisis counselors at NY Project Hope understand the changes COVID-19 has made in your life and they know the emotions these challenges create may be strong, and sometimes unfamiliar. From uncertainty to sadness, NY Project Hope helps you cope with your reactions to the changes; providing support so you can work to manage the stress and fatigue.
Maybe you want to learn about reliable community resources that can help you or you just want to talk ... maybe it's both. Whatever it is that you need as you work to navigate your way through these very unusual times, NY Project Hope is here for you during COVID-19. If you decide to call our Emotional Support Helpline, you will reach someone who has been trained to hear what you are saying and give you the kind of support that works best for you during the pandemic...whether it's coping strategies, resources or a chance to talk. The call is always confidential, anonymous, and without charge. NY Project Hope’s Emotional Support Helpline number is 1-844-863-9314. Trained crisis counselors are available every day from 8am to 10pm. For coping tips, relaxation exercises and much more, log onto NY Project Hope’s website, or visit NY Project Hope on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
NYS Coping Circles
The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) recently announced the implementation of “Coping Circles”, a first-in-the-nation program facilitated by the NYS OMH to provide free six-week support and resilience group therapy sessions, held by video or phone and facilitated by licensed mental health professionals.
Coping Circles is available to all New Yorkers, ages 18 and older, in a range of languages and at various times during the day. Specialized Circles will be available for healthcare workers and first responders, survivors of COVID-19 infection, those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19, and those who have experienced job loss due to COVID-19. Coping Circles will be available between June 1, 2020 and August 31, 2020.
Since in-person group therapy sessions are simply not possible in the midst of a pandemic, Coping Circles will provide home-based support and resilience tele-group sessions to help people who are feeling overwhelmed by the pandemic and want to discuss and share their feelings. New Yorkers interested in joining Coping Circles, and mental health practitioners interested in becoming facilitators, can register at NY.Gov/CopingCircles
NYS OMH Launches Emotional Support Line
The COVID-19 pandemic has left many New Yorkers feeling anxious and stressed. New York State Office of Mental Health has launched the first-of-its-kind Emotional Support Helpline in response to the mental health impact of COVID-19. The Emotional Support Line provides free and confidential support, helping callers experiencing increased anxiety due to the coronavirus emergency. The Help Line is staffed by volunteers, including mental health professionals, who have received training in crisis counseling.
OMH Emotional Support Helpline
Go to the NYS OMH COVID-19 Resources page to learn more about the helpline and for resources on managing anxiety in difficult times.
Headspace and New York Governor Cuomo’s Office Team Up to Release ‘New York State of Mind,’ Free Meditation and Mindfulness Content Hub Curated for New Yorkers
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apr 6, 2020
Today, Headspace, a global leader in mindfulness and meditation, and the Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that they have teamed up to offer free meditation and mindfulness content for all New Yorkers as a mental health resource for residents coping with the unprecedented public health crisis facing the state and the nation. Governor Cuomo has emphasized the importance of ensuring New Yorkers have access to the mental health resources they need to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, and this effort furthers that goal.
Starting today, New Yorkers across the state can access a specially curated collection of science-backed, evidence-based guided meditations, along with at-home mindful workouts, sleep and kids content to help address rising stress and anxiety. Available at www.headspace.com/ny, the collection will also feature Headspace co-founder and former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe, who will share special video messages with the people of New York to help offer guidance, support and solidarity.
Download a PDF Version Headspace and New York Governor Cuomo’s Office Team Up to Release ‘New York State of Mind,’ Free Meditation and Mindfulness Content Hub Curated for New Yorkers.
Coping with Stress During Infection Disease Outbreaks...
What you Should Know
When you hear, read, or watch news about an outbreak of an infections disease such as Ebola, you may feel anxious and show signs of stress--even when the outbreak affects people far from where you live and you are at low or no risk of getting sick. These signs of stress are normal, and may be more likely or pronounced in people with loved ones in parts of the world affected by the outbreak. In the wake of an infectious disease outbreak, monitor your own physical and mental health. Know the signs of stress in yourself and loved ones. Know how to relieve stress, and know when to get help.
Download the PDF version of Coping With Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks.
Talking with Children: Tips for Caregivers, Parents, and Teachers During Infectious Disease Outbreaks...
What You Should Know
When children and youth watch news on TV about and infectious disease outbreak, read about it in the news, or overhear others discussing it, they can feel scared, confused, or anxious--as much as adults. This is true even if they live far from where the outbreak is taking place and are at little to no actual risk of getting sick. Young people react to anxiety and stress differently than adults. Some may react right away; others may show signs that they are having a difficult time much later. As such, adults do not always know when a child needs help.
Download a PDF version of Talking with Children: Tips for Caregivers, Parents, and Teachers During Infectious Disease Outbreaks.