, ,

That Restless, Irritable, Lost Feeling May Just Be Anxiety

One of the more common issues that psychologists in Littleton are hearing today is a sense of restlessness. With most of the world stuck at home for over a month, this is to be expected! However, this sort of restlessness has little to do with the fact that you’re cooped up at home, and more to do with underlying anxiety. Those with existing anxiety disorders may recognize this right away, but what about those who are usually calm, unflappable, or even aloof? The situational anxiety most people are facing right now is strong, and may cause you to feel out of sorts. Read on to find out what this feeling is and how to manage it more effectively.

Anxiety Does Not Always Equal Worry

Some people think of anxiety as being worried, frightened, frozen like a deer in headlights. In fact, anxiety can show up in many different ways, for different people, depending on the stressor. Few people are worried about losing their lives due to the coronavirus outbreak, given low mortality rates outside of risk groups. Many people have already had it and survived. Still, a feeling of restlessness, unsettledness, problems sleeping, or getting snappy at housemates is a sure sign of anxiety. When will the economy reopen? Will my job be stable? Will my child ever be able to return to school? These are not life or death worries, so many people discount them. However, keep in mind that these are worries about your livelihood and everyday life—in other words, these are important things!

Mindfulness and Acceptance

With all the time many people have free, mindfulness is a popular topic to explore. Fortunately, it is about more than just meditation, relaxation, or awareness. Mindfulness involves being attentive and aware not only to your setting, but also to your internal state—recognizing that maybe you got overly upset when your friend cancelled your video chat because you are worried about her, recognizing that you’re not feeling “unmotivated” but actually overwhelmed. When you can identify your inner emotions, you can manage them. Following this concept is acceptance. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling scared, sad, or lonely. Grieve your loss, even if the loss seems silly, like your weekly window shopping excursion or pedicure. You spent years building a life you loved, it is only natural to feel sad and anxious when it is interrupted.

Structure and Freedom

If you are working from home, or out of work and just staying at home, it can be hard to find motivation or relaxation. What a paradox! If you feel like you’ve been mentally “stuck in traffic” all day, unable to work properly or relax, don’t feel alone—this is common, and Highlands Ranch psychologists have struggled with the same challenges! Reconsider your balance between structure and freedom. Do you still need to wake up at 6 a.m., get breakfasts ready, and play “workhorse” from 9-5? Find a schedule that works for you, even if it looks different than usual. At the same time, give yourself a little more flexibility. If your workload has dropped from 40 hours to 10, don’t feel pressured to be “productive” during those extra hours! Do what feels restorative.

Feeling restless, edgy, sad, or frustrated is to be expected during this challenging time. Lashing out physically at others, harming oneself, or thinking of suicide is not. If anxiety or depression are more than you can handle during these challenging times, remember: you are not alone. Many psychologists in Littleton and around the world are offering telehealth appointments to help you build coping skills and manage your emotions. If you ever feel unsafe, your local emergency room or mental health crisis center is ready to help.

, ,

The Importance of Social Connection

When was the last time your child had a play date? How long has it been since he has been able to swing past other kids on the monkey bars, give a high five, or get a hug? During the COVID19 pandemic, these little things we used to take for granted disappeared seemingly overnight. Unlike a move, where kids get to say “goodbye” to their friends, the urgency of the situation caused many social outlets to close overnight. Child behavior psychologists in Littleton know just how important social connection is, especially for our kids. Read on to find out some great tips to cope and maintain those connections while staying socially distant and healthy!

Telehealth visit

Everyone seems to be making good use of modern technology to connect, but this is typically easier for older children and teens. Younger children, and many children on the autism spectrum, struggle to engage in the video calls. This is normal! Videos take the life, interaction, and a good deal of body language out of communications, even with one’s best friend or family members. Here are some tips to make your telehealth visit more effective:

  • Schedule a time and stick to it. Anticipating the fun of the “visit” is part of any playdate!
  • Make sure lighting is bright—sunlight works best.
  • Help kids connect by planning a shared activity like a shared video game or favorite show to watch.
  • “Show and tell” is fun for younger kids. Completed puzzles, drawings, or LEGO constructions are perfect for showing off.
  • Keep it short. When attention spans fade, frustration builds.
  • Always monitor your child’s safety while using internet technology.

Plan for the Future

The tips above are great, but many kids (and, let’s admit, many adults!) are tired of video conferencing. Why not start a plan for the future? Help your child plan an exciting summer BBQ, fall birthday party, or anything else they can look forward to? This is a perfect way for older children and teens to stay occupied and hopeful. For anxious children who may worry about having to attend school or interact with friends again, this can be a good time to plan some safe, fun activities. If your child is having problems sleeping, decides he or she never wants to return to school, or is showing signs of depression, don’t hesitate to contact your favorite children’s play therapist in Littleton! We can provide parent interventions, telehealth, and will transition smoothly to in-person sessions when it is safe.

Make it Special

Many families have special routines or treats for when a child is ill—a forbidden soda, exotic tropical fruit pops, special homemade soup. When the child thinks back later in life, these special treats don’t offset unhappiness, but they do provide the rainbow during the rainstorm. What special things do you have to help your child maintain social skills during these times? Does your teen meet her BFF for coffee every week? Surprise them both and have a beverage delivered for her and her friend during chat time! Does your little one love to surprise his friends with gifts? Order one for each and unbox together over video. Five years from now, you want your child to look back and say “remember when we were quarantined and did this? It was so much fun!”

On a final note, keep in mind that as much as you and your child can try to make this situation better, it is hard. Don’t pretend it isn’t—let your child know that you are struggling sometimes, school friends are struggling, even adults are having a hard time. Then, remind them that we can get through this together!