Minding Mental Health During This New Normal

Just like that, life as we know it has changed.

For some, it may have felt like a gradual, creeping-along change. For others, it felt like they were blindsided out of nowhere. And we are all still feeling kind of stuck.

We’re living with a virus that has taken our world by storm and those who are farther along in the shift are struggling to create a new normal amidst job loss and school closures. Just as many are stuck in analysis paralysis, unsure what to do next as the reports on the news and social media seemingly get grimmer by the day.

The governing officials have stated that the best way…the only way…to “flatten the curve” on the pandemic known as COVID19 is to stay home.

“Social distancing” will forever be part of our vocabulary when it wasn’t even a “thing” at the start of this year.

With these ongoing mandates, people are physically distancing themselves from others to protect themselves and the ones they love even as restaurants and shopping centers start to reopen.

Social Distancing also means a physical connection is lost and this hits the smallest members of our communities especially hard as they are separated from the teachers and friends they love. During this time of economic, physical, and spiritual upheaval, kids need to understand their conflicted feelings more than ever. They need to know it’s OK to be mad or sad or scared or confused.

They need to know they are not alone, and that, this too shall pass.

Minding Mental Health During This New Normal

As an attorney, therapist, and CEO of Abi Behavioral Health in Louisville, Kentucky I see trauma and emotional pain daily. Our company is an intensive family therapy agency that works to prevent the placement of children in out of home care, such as foster care, hospitalization, and incarceration.

I think, unfortunately, I will be even busier in the days and months to come.

My advice to parents, grandparents, caregivers, and educators at this moment in time is to live each day. Break the paralysis some of us have been feeling. Begin (or finish) the things you have always wanted to do. I have always wanted to have weekly family game nights, and now, thanks to this crazy time, we do. What are some of the things you have always wanted to do? Write them down so you are more likely to follow through with these plans and goals.

Have you wanted to read more? Write your own book? Learn how to take better photographs? This is also a great time to plant a garden or flowers. If you find yourself so down that you cannot break this cycle of uncertainty and monotony, you should talk to a therapist. There are many out there.

And now more of us are working from home so you can see a therapist right in the comfort of your own living room. Many sources can help you find someone who will listen to you and help you remember what is truly important. If your children are enrolled in school ask the principal or counselor for help locating a therapist. You can also ask a friend, neighbor, doctor, or pastor in your church. To me, the scariest thing right now is being alone. There is no reason why we have to be alone. Please reach out and find help. And do not stop until you do.

Celebrate with Make A Way Media!

My 2019 diverse picture book, This is the Earth has been winning awards!

This is the Earth, a diverse picture book that shares a message of peace, love, respect, compassion, and inclusion. Published in early 2019, the book’s core message is this: peace is meant for all of us and it is everyone’s responsibility to care for each other like the family that we are. AND it has won TWO notable awards! Read more about this timely (and much-needed) picture book HERE.

Help us spread the message of peace far and wide!

About Deedee Cummings

As a therapist, attorney, author, and CEO of Make A Way Media, Deedee Cummings has a passion for making the world a better place. All 16 of Cummings’ diverse picture, poetry, and workbooks for kids reflect her professional knowledge and love of life. Colorful and vibrant, her children’s books are not only fun for kids and adults to read, they also work to teach coping skills, reinforce the universal message of love, encourage mindfulness, and facilitate inclusion for all. Cummings has spent more than two decades working within the family therapy and support field and much of her writing shares her experiences of working with kids in therapeutic foster care. As a result, her catalogs of published books for kids are filled with positive, hopeful messages. Using therapeutic techniques in her stories to teach coping skills, Cummings also strives to lessen the stigma that some people feel when it comes to receiving mental health assistance.
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