A Second Summer of COVID

 In Colorado Spirit

Welcome to the Weekly Well-Being Connection! Each week we will share advice from our clinical experts on ways to care for your mental health and well-being throughout COVID-19. 

Many thanks to Colorado Spirit team member, Sara Harris, LSW, for writing this week’s post.

Summer months are often viewed as a time to relax, rejuvenate, and have fun. However, parents know that sometimes this is not in line with reality. Summer means having to juggle schedules, shift routines, and think of absolutely every idea to keep kids from saying the infamous “I’m bored!” Then add this year’s unique challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic – summer camps cancelled, care giver capacity restricted, and concerns over student’s learning loss – it’s clear that parents are facing another very different summer. As restrictions and guidelines change, caregivers must make decisions of how to keep their children safe. Last May the Colorado Spirit team shared this post on supporting youth during the summer. In addition to those tips, we wanted to offer a few more suggestions.

Start slow

After almost a year and a half inside, the freedom that comes with the COVID-19 vaccine can feel hopeful and exciting. Before you try to fill up your family schedule with flight vouchers, concert tickets, and baseball games cancelled from last summer, remember to start slow. Reintegrating your family to large crowds and big events can feel scary for a lot of reasons. Personally, I was surprised to find myself exhausted and overwhelmed in crowded spaces. It’s important to give yourself grace and slowly work into spaces where you can feel comfortable. 

Make as much structure as possible

Children rely on carefully crafted routines, and too little structure or shifting routines can feel overwhelming. While days fill up with different activities try to keep a consistent morning and bedtime routine. Being deliberate with how you start each morning and end each night can help establish structure and stability for the hours and days to come. Make a plan in collaboration with your family about how mornings and nights will look. In the morning, this could look like a specific time for wake up, chores such as brushing teeth and making the bed, and breakfast where the family can connect and learn about each other’s plans for the day. In order to maintain this morning routine, a good night sleep will be crucial. Long weekends away with family and friends during the summer months can often disrupt sleep patterns and disturb daily routines. Similar to the morning, set specific times for a nightly routine, including set times electronics are unplugged, chores are done, books are read, and lights are off.

Make a summer bucket list

To ease the anxiety of running out of ideas, making a summer bucket list can be a fun activity to help your family plan what this summer will entail. Starting small from a dessert to bake, to a multi-day road trip, take the time to write down anything and everything in-between. For some general ideas check out From ABC’s to ACT’s 101 Family Friendly, Summer Bucket List Ideas . For some more specific ideas in Colorado, check out the Pinterest Board “Colorado with Kids.” This board is dedicated to the best family attractions, activities, and destinations that Colorado has to offer.

Even if you are only allotted small moments that feel few and far between, take that time to connect with your family. Remember to take care of yourself, as the behavior you model will have the greatest impact on those around you.

Would speaking to someone help?

To speak with someone in the Colorado Spirit Program about stress related to the pandemic, please call 720-707-6789 or visit our web page at www.allhealthnetwork.org/Colorado-Spirit

For information about other services at AllHealth Network or to get connected with ongoing behavioral health support, please call: 303-730-8858.

AllHealth Network is continuing to provide service via telehealth or by phone and our Crisis Walk-in Center remains open 24/7. To learn more about what other community mental health centers are doing, please visit The Colorado Behavioral Health Council COVID-19 website.

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and are in need of immediate assistance, please call the Colorado Crisis Hotline at 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255.

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