How to cope during COVID-19 and lockdowns
Posted by COPE on 19th March 2020
Information for expectant and new parents
If you’re feeling stressed, anxious or worried at the moment you’re not alone.
It’s understandable to be concerned about how COVID restrictions may impact your antenatal care, the birth of your baby and your life postpartum.
While things can feel overwhelming right now with all the daily case numbers, changes in restrictions, and uncertainly about when the lockdown will end, there are some things that we can do to reduce the stress and alleviate feelings of anxiety. Here, we can be proactive and put some strategies in place. This can help us feel more prepared, in control and at ease.
COPE’s tips for managing anxiety around COVID-19 and lockdowns:
- Reduce social media time: It can be helpful to feel connected and to connect to others, particularly if you are self-isolating. If, however, you are noticing that the panic and constant reference to the fear and worry of others is increasing your own anxiety or worry, then it’s time to cut it back.
- Stay active: Nature is a great grounding tool and getting some fresh air can be energising. If you’re staying inside, take a look at the vast array of yoga, pilates, or other exercise videos available online
- Think about what you find relaxing and calming, and what your partner and children find relaxing and calming: An anxious and worried mind needs rest and time out, so make some plans for activities that provide this. Listen to your favourite music, do some gardening, take a bath or switch off from social media and grab a book.
- Breathe! Breathing is so simple, so effective, and so under-rated. A calm breath regulates the brain and the body, while anxiety does the opposite. Be conscious of your breath and play around with some ideas to support this – different techniques work for different people so find the one that works for you.
- Create a list of all the things you have wished you had time for but always found life too busy: Like starting the baby book you’ve been meaning to create, or spring cleaning the pantry. On the other hand, if the last thing you feel like doing is being productive – that’s OK too.
- Stay connected: Check in with family and friends via text, Zoom and social media. You can also join your local Mama Tribe to connect with other pregnant or new mums in your local area. Start building your village now so when restrictions ease you’ll have mama friends you can eventually meet in person. Join your tribe here
- Find the silver linings (even though we know it’s not always easy!): Some women who became mothers during COVID last year found that having fewer visitors and more time alone to bond as a new family was a positive experience. Some research has also found that there have been higher rates of positive breastfeeding outcomes.
- Acknowledge your feelings: It’s important to recognise that what’s happening at the moment may lead to feelings of grief. Many mothers who gave birth during the pandemic in 2020 experienced a huge sense of grief and loss that they didn’t have the pregnancy, birth or postnatal experience that they had hoped and wished for. Many also described feeling “robbed” and “deprived” of their first year of motherhood. These feelings are painful and valid.
- Seek professional help if you need it: There’s no shame in asking for help if you need additional support. In fact, it’s incredibly brave. You can find a perinatal specialist in your local area by searching our e-COPE Directory.
It’s OK to feel that the magic of this time has been stolen from you – while also being grateful for it, too.
It’s okay to grieve. Your feelings are valid and so are your tears. You’re not alone