This week we will have several posts about illness and injury because many of us are still dealing with flu, viruses, and also stress and fear about pandemics. Today’s post is about how to mentally cope when our bodies aren’t able to do the things we are used to either because of fatigue or other symptoms. This can be especially challenging in late winter when it has been a while since we were able to consistently be outside in the sun for extended periods of time. This week’s post will focus on temporary illness (like the flu) and short term injury, and a later post will focus on chronic and more serious illness and injury.
Here are some tips to consider for coping:
- Try using the T.E.A. Cycle. This is especially helpful when you have anxiety about missing work, or your child has anxiety about missing school, or there is anxiety about not “performing” up to a perceived expectation. Click here for how to do the T.E.A. Cycle
- Re-Framing technique: Instead of telling yourself what you aren’t doing, reframe that thought out loud as a statement of what you are doing. For example, “I rested today so that my body can use that extra energy toward healing.” If you are sick, healing is productivity. If you are injured, rest and taking it slow is training. Help your child re-frame their day. It is hard for us as adults when the week doesn’t go as expected; it is even more challenging for children.
- Gratitude: Practice daily gratitude for anything positive. This doesn’t mean that the negatives aren’t real, but we can help our mental well-being by bringing any positives to the front of our mind. For example, if we have a job that allows us a “sick day” we can remember that not everyone is able to get this need met. If we had a kind medical staff person, friend or family member we can hold that in our mind with gratitude. We can be grateful for any signs of healing, even if it isn’t as quick as we would like it to be. Click Here for more
- Accept and validate your inner frustrations: Feeling frustrated is part of life. There is nothing wrong with us when we feel frustrated, so don’t be hard on yourself if you are struggling with frustration around illness or injury. Remember, you hear your own inner voice more than anyone else’s. Practice being as kind to yourself as you would to a friend. Validating your child’s frustrations can also increase your child’s readiness to practice one of the above positive thinking coping skills.