Dear Coronavirus: I’m Not Gonna Let You Stress Me Out

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Hi, my name is Heather and I am a bonafide germaphobe. As you can imagine, this makes raising four small kiddos quite interesting during cold season. With every new Coronavirus hysteria headline, the same thought keeps flashing through my anxious head: how can I protect my kids?

Coronavirus anxiety - face maskYes, I am that mom.

Yup. I’m the one. The one who when I’m not wrangling globs of luscious yellow boogers out of their adorable little crusty noses, I am chasing them from room to room with disinfecting wipes. Don’t even start me on the toy bins. Hand sanitizer? From the looks of our diaper bag, you may suspect I own a water tower filled with the stuff. Yet, despite all my efforts, viruses still find their way into our home.

Re-thinking My Coronavirus Anxiety

As parents, it’s scary to think that we have little-to-no control over what can interrupt the well-being of our child. I really think that’s what makes this Coronavirus so terrifying. Not one parent I know can stand to see their child sick or suffering. The thought of a very dangerous virus ravaging the health of our littles is one that is not just saddled with anxiety, but with possibility, too.

So to answer my own question simply, I can’t protect my kids. And the only way I remotely can, is to teach them better health practices (here’s another post on natural flu and cold prevention!).

Empowering, not instructing.

In addition to my germaphobic tendencies, I do have a knack for over-instructing. I see it everyday. Dozens of barked instructions go in one ear and out the other. But taking the time to model an action with humor? Those moments tend to stick.

It’s worth noting that we’ve become masters at cold prevention, thanks to the annual onslaught of flu strains. So there are basic behavioral strategies to curb one’s risk of getting Coronavirus, and other seasonal bugs. This, not fear, is what we can be teaching our dependents. To not only protect them, but to do our part in protecting our communities, too.

Eat Well.

As a mom, I will never discount the convenience of a Happy Meal. However, gut health and clean eating is proven to be connected to better immune function. Efforts to limit sugar and processed food, during cold season can only help the body. To strengthen the gut, introducing good, fermented foods into the diet may be tricky, but worth it. If you have a picky eater like me, we love the yummy and easy dōTERRA PB Assist Jr. powder packets. Use creative ways to get your kids to eat more veggies. Do whatever it takes. Nutrition is a foundation for health that I am striving daily to teach my kids about. 

Wash hands and say your prayers; Jesus and germs are everywhere.

Yes, this is a total basic, but an important one. I was horrified when I watched my five year-old was her hands the other day. I thought I had that base covered. Knowing how contagious Coronavirus and others are, I am quick to correct poor skills in this area. So I re-educate every couple of months. My favorite splurge during cold season is Pacha Soap slime which helps even the most reluctant hand-washer play to their way to clean. NPR shared this great comic about Coronavirus anxiety for kids from Malaka Gharib that’s worth sharing. It breaks things down in a low key way and helps empower kids to make healthy choices without instilling unnecessary fear.

Cough this way…not that.

Teaching kids how to cough and handle their infected belongings (tissues, for example) is such a no-brainer, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner. But if we want them to truly learn how to limit their own germ footprint, these strategies are essential. Only mildly annoying, this short video provides kids with a fun song on how to not be so…gross when sick.

Teach them self-care

I am guilty of not modeling this one better, but it’s one I’m desperate to teach my littles. I want them to know how to rest when they need to. How to get enough sleep. How to read their body for clues that more self-care is calling. Even more importantly, I want them to know its O.K. to cancel plans. Sometimes saying “no” is not quitting, but necessary for everyone’s health.

I hope this helps you. And maybe, in some small amount, helps you to let go of your own Coronavirus anxiety, too. So grab your favorite bottle of sanitizer and snuggle those kiddos of yours. Life is too short. So set worry to the wind and just be.

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Hello, I'm Heather! Born and raised in New Hampshire, I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to raise our four tiny humans, alongside my husband in the beautiful Seacoast community. As a mental health therapist by trade, and full-time mama by life, I find balance in helping my kids to explore the world through deliciously messy play, connecting with other families in the area, having a good belly laugh, and enjoying a strong cup of coffee. My passions include pouring my heart into writing, getting lost in watercolor painting, spending time along the ocean, and discovering new recipes to cook up for my family. When I'm not chasing after my kids or digging in our garden, I work to educate and share about essential oils use for mental health and holistic wellness.