How Do You Cope?


The longer we’re dealing with this coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty, unpredictability, and instability that comes with it, the more our feelings are being heightened. Parents and kids, even out little ones, who haven’t seen friends in weeks, are experiencing more tension and more stress.

Parents are arguing. Children are acting out. Families are struggling.

Parents are reaching out to me every day for coaching because they’re feeling so overwhelmed with school’s closed, kid’s bored, working from home, homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, and managing the home.

Parents are unsure how to discuss the coronavirus with their children, how to deal with their own anxiety, how to reassure their kids, and how to stay rooted in routines, set boundaries, and stay consistent with their parenting.

There’s a lot of information we’re navigating and a huge amount we’re juggling. It’s not easy!

So … when we can’t change our situation, we have to find ways to better cope with the situation.

We all approach stressful situations differently and it’s helpful to have a collection of tools, strategies, and styles of coping that help us better adapt, adjust, endure, and get by.

Here are six coping styles that may be helpful for you to know about as we continue navigating Covid-19.

Is there a coping style (or two) in this list that resonate with you?

  1. Belief. When we’re oriented toward belief, and look to find meaning in stressful circumstances, we develop an inner strength and a coping resource that helps us find order, focus and direction in times of uncertainty. Believing and finding meaning is a buffer against stress, helps us cope and is a powerful way to put things into perspective.
  1. Affect means being aware of what we’re feeling and feeling our feelings. When we can’t change the circumstances or difficult circumstances are prolonged and on-going, facing our emotions, accepting them, and leaning into our feelings, rather than ignoring them, avoiding them, or denying them, helps us cope, feel better, and tolerate our distress.
  1. Seeking social connection and support from friends and family is a coping resource. Talking about stressful events with supportive people is an effective way to manage stress. Self-isolating and internalizing the stress is maladaptive and unhealthy, increasing the negative effects of a difficult situation.
  1. Creativity and Imagination let’s our bodies and minds unwind. It provides us with an outlet to express ourselves and to express our feelings. Creativity also gives us an opportunity to connect to ourselves. Cooking, gardening, dancing, drawing, and writing are fantastic ways to relax, reconnect with yourself, and cope.
  1. Cognitive Coping means gathering information to try and better understand your stressful circumstances as a way to cope. With Covid-19 there’s a lot of information to take in and too much information can have the opposite effect and leave you confused and more stressed. Limit the amount of time you spend gathering information, reading articles, searching the internet, or listening to the news. Also consider the source of your information. What you hear from well-meaning family and friends may not be accurate or helpful. Make sure you’re obtaining information from reliable sources only.
  1. Physical Activity is a healthy stress release. Getting your body moving increases the production of endorphins, your brain’s feel-good chemical. Physical activity reduces stress, calms your body and brain, and improves your mood.

Which coping style resonates with you? Keep in mind there isn’t only one way to proceed. It’s up to you to decide which type of coping skill is going to work best for you. And it may be different to the coping styles your spouse or even your kids will use to cope.

Dealing with the prolonged stressors of the coronavirus isn’t easy and it’s taking a toll on many of us. The challenges we’re face during this pandemic aren’t ones we’ve encountered before. You don’t need to solve them alone! Please don’t hesitate to ask for the help you need. Help can come from family members, supportive friends with a good listening ear, or from a mental health professional.

If I can be of help to you and your family sorting through your parenting challenges, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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My work is dedicated to supporting parents and early childhood educators in understanding and reducing challenging behavior in young children at home and in the preschool classroom.

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