Coping Strategies for Anxiety and Stress During Corona Pandemic

Are you feeling irritable and short-tempered and getting into arguments at home? So many people are experiencing nervousness and restlessness? So many are finding it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep? You are not alone.

There are many things about which people feel stressed, anxious, and worried. For example, Coronavirus and social unrest are causing worry and fear. Also, many have lost jobs and their salaries. One of the most challenging things that many must deal with is that it isolates them at home—having to be indoors, whether alone or even with family, is extremely difficult. As a result, I hear from many people who feel irritable, angry, sensitive, anxious, and depressed. What can people do to help themselves deal better with these problems?

Here or some suggestions for coping during this difficult time:

  • While wearing masks go out for walks, whether alone, with family, or with friends. In doing so, it is essential to remember to maintain Social distancing.
  • Avoiding alcohol is extremely important. The reports are that many people are drinking to self-medicate their problems. Rather than working as self-medication, drinking worsens the problems. It creates irritability and the tendency to get into arguments at home.
  • Social interaction is essential. The frustration is that the Coronavirus makes it difficult to socialize. While wearing masks and maintaining social distance, it is possible to mix and necessary. I encourage people to chat as much as possible while maintaining safety in my psychotherapy practice.
  • Exercise is important. I know of one person who reported that they walk around their house as much as possible, including going upstairs and downstairs.
  • Owning a dog can help. People who own dogs understand they must be what walked. Two crucial goals or achieved for those who have the dog. One important goal is getting out of the house and walking, allowing for some exercise. Besides, I always remind my clients that it’s impossible to be isolated when you own a dog. Neighbors, children, and anyone will greet and pet the dog. That is often the beginning of a friendly chat.
  • One of the best medicines in the world, for most situations, is his humor. That is why I recommend watching funny television programs. These movies are comic and email humorous cartoons to family and friends. There is nothing like making jokes, laughing, smiling, having a sense of humor, or being suitable for the body and good for the soul.
  • Listening to music is one of the most soothing it will axing things a person can do.
  • I strongly recommend meditation. There is a beautiful app named CALM. Download this app to your cell phone. Sitting or lying down and listening to some meditations is hugely relieving. The reflections are guided or purely musical and, depending on your choice, can last from 5 to 30 minutes.
  • Under stress, many people breathe in a more shallow way without realizing it’s happening. Instead, it’s essential to take a full breath, count to five, let it out, and repeat two or three times. You can feel the body relax.
  • Additional strategies include avoiding watching the news.
  • Stretch to relax muscle tension—deep muscle relaxation techniques.
  • Nature helps a great deal, such as walking in the local park.
  • Avoid turning to alcohol to self-medicate. That only worsens all the symptoms mentioned, including domestic violence and child abuse.

People are experiencing feeling shut into their homes as frustrating. There is evidence that this has resulted in increased alcohol consumptions, domestic violence, and child abuse. It is essential to turn to psychotherapy for this and all the other reasons mentioned if the different strategies do not work.

It may seem silly, but it’s also important to smile. An old song, “smile, and the entire world smiles with you.” It is accurate, and evidence points out that smiling helps us feel better. 

Child Abuse and Parental Denial

Parental refusal to admit to their adult children about past abuse only worsens the situation for the survivor of that abuse.

Child Abuse and Parental Denial

ALLAN SCHWARTZ, LCSW, PH.D.

I recently had the opportunity of revisiting a question that I have struggled to find answers to for many years. The question is, why faced with a parent sexually, physically, or verbally abusing a child, does the other parent remain silent?

In my psychotherapy practice, I am experiencing an increase where one parent said nothing. In contrast, the other parent abused their children. The abuse came as constant shouting at the child and hitting and punching the child most times. There is also child neglect and, sometimes, sexual abuse.

The adult survivors of abuse also report experiencing gaslighting. In addition, they recall the abuse and the fact that the other parent offered no safety.

Gaslighting is extremely serious. Here is a psychological definition of gaslighting:

“Gaslighting is an insidious form of manipulation and psychological control. Victims of gaslighting are deliberately and systematically fed false information that leads them to question what they know to be true, often about themselves. They may end up doubting their memory, their perception, and even their sanity. Over time, a gaslighter’s manipulations can grow more complex and potent, making it increasingly difficult for the victim to see the truth.” Part of the strategy of parents and families who use gaslighting is to convince abuse survivors of mental health problems.

Some parents behave like blame victims when their adult children confront them with the abuse.

Child abuse, gaslighting, and denial form part of a family pattern in which grandparents, uncles, and aunts join in the disclaimer and gaslighting. Most times, siblings join this pattern of disclaiming abuse even though they are survivors of abuse.

The question others have asked me and that I ask myself is, how or why would a parent remain silent in the while, the abuse of the children is happening. Here are a few hypotheses.

1. Denial is a powerful and primitive defense mechanism. Someone dependent, frightened, and themselves the victim of abuse, can remain silent and not even see or hear the abuse to maintain the desperately needed relationship with the abuser. It is a variation of the old saying, “Hear no evil, see no evil.” Well, people hear it and see it and cannot act.

2. Both abuser and spouse can be mentally ill people who collude out of mutually shared sadism. A few people can get a sense of pleasure out of treating children abusively.

3. Over the years, I have known a few cases in which the wife has such a deep need to avoid sexual relations that they prefer their husband engage in Oedipal relations with a daughter, which is usually unconscious, with a complete denial in operation.

4. Chronic and severe drug and alcohol abuse loosen inhibitions that otherwise sober and sensible people do things that would shock them if they were not under the influence of certain types of drugs.

5. Parents who come from abusive environments repeat the pattern once they are parents. The vicious cycle of abuse is probably the primary cause of domestic violence in the United States.

It is natural to ask why an adult would now confront their parents about abusive acts that happened during childhood? The answer is that these survivors seek an apology and an affirmative statement admitting their wrongdoing. Parental failure to apologize to the survivor further adds to the despair. The despair results not simply by the refusal of an apology but the complete denial that anything happened.

It is the responsibility of neighbors, family, friends, teachers, and school officials to report suspected abuse to the authorities, who will then investigate.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD