anxiety is just as contagious as covid-19

one of the most important pieces of advice I received before we went into “stay at home mode” last month was to make a schedule (or “program”, as alegra calls it) and stick to it. each day we have specific times for all our routine activities, breakfast, lunch and dinner; e-learning; exercise; socializing with friends; creating through art, cooking or music; and even blocks of time that we all know can be used for free-time or “alone time”.

during these uncertain times, watching the nightly news has also become a key part of our routine; as unalterable as e-learning or walking the dog.  as we watch the news, inevitably our phones start to bing and ping and light up- signaling messages from friends and family all over turkey who, like us, are trying to figure out exactly what is happening here and abroad, and glean any possible information about the future; either from official messages or from shared information.

last night was interesting, the president addressed the nation in a live press conference, detailing government efforts to combat the spread of the virus and keep deaths to a minimum.  messages from friends meanwhile cautioned that full lockdown; in turkey this is called “a ban on being on the street”; was certainly coming this week. friends also indicated that the government may soon decide to seize private assets in order to have more cash at their disposal.  rumor had it that private individuals would still be able to access their money; but only a certain percentage during a given time period- probably a month. 

the girls heard this, rumors coming from an anxious place, and oh boy, did that anxiety spread like wildfire throughout our house!

you could call it serendipity, or maybe just plain coincidence, but over the weekend two close friends sent me brene brown’s podcast on anxiety and calm.  i finally found time to listen to it yesterday morning while the girls had “e-school”. it could not have been better timing…

in the podcast, brown explains, and demonstrates, just how contagious anxiety is. and then she offers some advice on how to handle it. be it with a child, a co-worker, a friend or a spouse, the tools she provides are simple, and last night they WORKED.

despite the fear i felt rising in my chest as the questions flew around the dinner table; i took a deep breath as calmly as possible and said, “we don’t have any official information indicating that any of these rumors are true. until then there is no need to worry about this. once we have more information, we can-if necessary-make a plan that will work for us.”

honestly, i am still a little surprised that i managed to say it all so calmly, and i am equally and pleasantly surprised at how well it worked to calm not just the girls’, but my nerves as well.

there will be more rumors to come, decisions made by the government, the schools and other institutions that will surely make us anxious. just remember that anxiety is contagious- so take deep breaths, be sure you have all the information and don’t forget to wash your hands.

you can access the podcast here:

let me know how your family is handling all these big questions; sharing resources and tools is crucial in these odd, odd times. 

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