Hi, I’ve struggled with anxiety on and off for over 10 years now and as you can imagine this situation with COVID-19 has made it much worse.
I live in a small house and although I try and keep this from my kids (aged 6, 9 and 11) I feel that they’re picking up on my anxiety. I’m worried they are going to struggle with their mental health too if I don’t sort myself out. My youngest is having nightmares regularly and my eldest seems to worry a lot too. Luckily my middle child seems to take after her Dad and is super laid back!
Any advice you can give me would be really appreciated.
i would suggest that you all go out for exercise every day. could be walk in the park, kids can use bikes/scooters if they have them. or a trip to the shops if needed. if you have a back garden, would be good idea to spend time there and get fresh air that way.
I'm sorry to hear that Covid 19 is causing you more anxiety. You obviously care very much for your three children and want the best for them. Your increased anxiety may be something you want to talk about with your partner and there is some useful advice on the NHS website. If you google "dealing with anxiety" and follow the link to the NHS website this may help.
Don't feel like you're alone in this - the whole world is dealing with a pandemic and it's worrying to everyone, to the point where most people are self isolating or under government restrictions, wearing face masks or disinfecting everything other people might have infected. It's not something that anyone is used to dealing with in our normal everyday lives. What you're feeling is normal because we're in a situation that isn't normal.
Being a dad is hard work - you have to show your kids that you're the voice of reason and that you're unphased by anything. We all want to set an example to our children and show them how to deal with difficult situations. But sometimes it's ok to show them that you're human too, that you have fears and emotions just like everyone else.
I don't know how much this helps but looking at things rationally might put things into perspective for you and allow you to put on a brave face that you can present to your kids. The facts are that the uk has a population of 67 million and total deaths from the virus are (as of today's date) about 7,000. That's just one in every 10,000. From what the media is saying most people who die from the virus have other complications and are old.
Self isolating and disinfecting things that have been in contact with the outside world is going to seriously reduce any risk for you and your family. At the very least, quaranting these items for a day or two or just washing your hands properly after touching them is going to make a huge difference. And don't feel like doing those things is an irrational thing to do - we're not used to having to take precautions like this and I think we all feel a bit weird having to. Like I say, your feelings are normal. We're all feeling a bit anxious right now - anyone who isn't is in my opinion a bit ignorant.
Just remember that most of the country (and the world) are taking steps to seriously reduce any risk to themselves and everyone else. Every day that happens the risk is reduced more and more.
It's great if you can manage to set an example to your kids how we cope in the face of adversity but it's not the end of the world if you also show them that you're human and you have fears and worries just like everyone else. You can also show them that you can be positive - find things to occupy yourselves and take your mind off your worries and put on a "hey, we're gonna get through this" face.
Just wanted to let you know that there is a great organisation called Fegans, that have lots of tips and useful information on managing anxiety, both for yourself and for your children. If you google
then you will be able to search for articles written on how to cope with anxiety in different situations. There are breathing techniques listed for example, some of which I have myself tried, especially during this time.
Perhaps set yourself little goals to reach throughout the day with your children, wether it be a walk out somewhere, or spending some 1-1 time with each of your children. This way if they have any anxieties, they may open up to you whilst on their own.
Take one day at a time, and remember you are not alone in this.