Participating in the Hope Grows Here Community Project can be a form of self-care and healing, and there are other ways you can stay healthy. Engage in any or all of these practices to stay healthy and safe while maintaining social distancing.
Set a limit on your media intake regarding information about the outbreak. You will want to stay updated regarding the status of coronavirus (COVID-19), but make sure to take time to focus on positive things happening in your life, specifically those you can control.
Get the facts
Make sure you are accessing resources that you can rely on for accurate information. Learn about the outbreak and ways you can protect yourself and others. Visit the MultiCare COVID-19 Resource Center for information and resources.
Keep yourself healthy
In addition to following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to keep yourself safe from COVID-19:
- Eat healthy foods and drink lots of water
- Engage in physical exercise
- Get plenty of sleep and rest
- Avoid excess amounts of caffeine and alcohol
Incorporate relaxation into your daily routine
- Relax your body often by doing things that work for you: stretching, deep breaths, meditation, hobbies and more.
- When you’ve completed a hard task, reward yourself by doing something fun.
- Use this time at home to relax. Eat a good meal, listen to music or read a book.
- Talk with loved ones openly about how you are feeling, often.
Be mindful of your body and feelings
- Understand that being stressed, depressed, guilty or angry is common during an infectious disease outbreak even when it is not a direct threat to you.
- Connect with others who are feeling similarly and express those feelings.
- Take time to relax and remain calm through meditation, helping others or whatever works best for you.
Resources for kids
The Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital team of child life specialists has put together some tips to help children navigate this extraordinary time. Child life specialists are trained professionals who use evidenced-based practices to help children cope with stressful experiences.
Ask children to tell you what they have heard or what they know about coronavirus (COVID-19)
- This will allow you to clarify any misconceptions and listen to any fears your child has.
- Encourage your child to ask you any questions or share any worries they have.
- Keep checking in with your child as questions and needs could change over time.
- Acknowledge that it’s OK to feel scared or worried and remind them that this is temporary.
Share simple, concrete facts about the virus
- “COVID-19 is an illness called a virus.”
- “It is spread by germs that are shared between people.”
- “Some people may get very sick and others may not feel sick at all.”
- Remember it’s OK to say, “I don’t know” and explain that we are learning more about this virus every day.
Tell kids what you can do together to stay prepared and keep your family safe
- Review your family’s plan for food and supplies.
- Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, often.
- Practice “social distancing” by staying home and avoiding large groups of people.
Talk about the helpers who are working to keep us all safe
- The nurses, doctors, first responders and government officials.
Limit access to screen time and electronics
- Encourage kids to be creative and active.
- Decide how much time can be spent on a screen per day.
- Set timers to alert kids when their screen time is up.
- Go for a walk around the neighborhood (look for window gardens!)
- Take a hike or a scenic drive.
Stick to a routine as much as possible
- Consistency is helpful, especially for children who are feeling stressed.
- Make a schedule and empower kids by giving them simple choices regarding their schedule.
Share with kids that if they or someone they know were to get the virus, it’s not because they were bad or did anything wrong.
- Just like when we get a cold of flu, it’s not because of something we did.
Kids are impacted by their parents’ anxieties. Find ways to relieve your own stress and worries. If you remain calm and positive, your children will feel better.
- Take a break from the news and social media.
- Go for a walk alone or take small breaks if you have young children.
- Tell your kids one positive thing about the day.
- Check out ways to cope with stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 outbreak.
As parents or caregivers, please be kind to yourself and remember it’s OK if you don’t have all the answers. None of what is happening is normal and everyone is doing their best to adjust. Mary Bridge Children’s has also created a Helping Children Cope resource that provides additional information to help support your child.
If you would like to access more resources, visit the Mary Bridge Children's COVID-19 Resource Center.
If you are experiencing a behavioral health crisis, please look to these local and national resources for help.
Washington State Health Care Authority offers crisis lines that are specific to the county in which you live.
Toll-Free: 1-800-662-HELP (24/7/365 Treatment Referral Information Service in English and español)
Toll-Free: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
Toll-Free (español): 1-888-628-9454 TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889)
Text CONNECT to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis.
Source: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) offers helpful ways to cope with stress and anxiety during an infectious disease outbreak like COVID-19.