Pandemic Parenting

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The Covid19 pandemic continues and our mental health continues to be tested on a daily basis for strength and resilience. There are unique stressors associated with the pandemic, but as noted on social media, “We’re all in the same storm, but we have different boats.” The experience is a little different for everyone. Covid related stress include things such as changes in social support, changes in routine, uncertainty for the future, mask fatigue/decision fatigue/hand-washing & hygiene fatigue, and many more that include job loss, loss of loved ones, coping with illness, grieving… the list goes on. Many are now working from home, schooling from home, and navigating changes on a daily basis. We used to meet up with friends, family to socialize and celebrate special occasions. Now we are reliant on social media, Zoom and other video platforms, and distanced visits if the weather cooperates. All of these stressors impact our mental health. For parents, there is also concern about their child(s) social emotional development, behavior, sadness, worries, fears…

Common mental health difficulties include stress but also anxiety, depression, sadness, irritability, “burn out,” and frustration. We are battling changes in sleeping patterns, eating habits, and daily routine. We are experiencing increased headaches, stomach aches, and general aches and pains. We feel tired, unmotivated, and can find it hard to concentrate and make decisions. These symptoms are also experienced by children. Parents can reach a point of “burn out” and struggle with irritability, anger, and a strong desire to “take a break” from kids. It’s ok to feel this way sometimes, but if you’re feeling this consistently, it’s time to seek out some help. Telehealth, also called online counseling, is one way to address the stressors and your mental health without having to leave your house.
The first important thing to know is that kids are resilient. They’ll bounce back from this pandemic with their peers. Remember, their entire cohort is experiencing the same storm we are. Parents need to also care for themselves so that they can care for their children. It can be hard to find the time to do this, so here are some brief strategies that can be built into daily living if online counseling isn’t for you at this point.

1. Breathe. Inhale through your nose for a count of 5, exhale from your mouth for a count of 10. Slow down.
2. Listen to music. Dance. Sing.
3. Spend 5 extra minutes in the shower. Enjoy the feel of the water, the scents.
4. Write an “old fashioned” note or letter to a friend.
5. Scan your body. What is it telling you? Do you need to stretch? Breathe? Fidget?
6. Talk to someone.
7. Establish a routine for exercise, healthy eating, and sleep. Sleep hygiene is so important.
8. Close your eyes and listen for a moment. What do you hear?
9. Look around the room for patterns, colors, textures. What do you see?
10. Pause housework and spend time with your kids. Play. Watch a movie. Dance.


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**Originally published at in 2020. Re-posted here with minor updates for 2021 for the ongoing pandemic.

Wanderlust is defined by Merriam-Webster as being a strong longing for or impulse toward wandering. It goes on to describe that individuals with wanderlust do not necessarily need to go anywhere in particular; they just don’t care to stay in one spot. Now that we are 8 weeks?! (edited to update: almost a year!?!?) into physical distancing, the wanderlust has become strong even for those who generally like to stay in a predictable, routine oriented environment. Perhaps it is because we are restricted where we can wander and miss freedom of choice. Perhaps it is loneliness and isolation. Perhaps it is because we are spending waaaaay too much time with the same people day after day, after day, after day… Or perhaps it is because you have always been a wanderer, seeking out adventure and new experiences and environments. Some people settle, some people partially settle, and some are always seeking a new escapade. Wherever you fall on the spectrum of wanderlust, this physical distancing is hard.

Mindset is essential for maneuvering through these times and maintaining some sense of normalcy. As such, it is important to clarify the difference between “social distancing” and “physical distancing.” As humans, we need to be social. Even when we are separated from others for various reasons. Socialization and our social support system and relationships play a strong role in our wellbeing. We do not need to stop socializing. We need to change how we socialize. What does need to happen is a physical distancing from people. We don’t have to be afraid of smiling at others, making eye contact, or even exchanging a comment. Many are afraid to leave their house even though researchers have indicated going for walks, for example, is safe as long as we maintain a 6 – 10 foot space between people. Psychology Today highlights the research that shows us that our physical and emotional health are dependent on loving relationships and physical touch. In other words, avoiding others increases stress and increasing stress decreases your immune system. Of course, there are other side effects too, but this one strikes close to home during the current virus pandemic. Physical distance and travel restrictions can feel restrictive. And let’s be honest, they are. But there are ways to socialize and wander even during COVID19 2020/2021.

So for those of us who are itching to travel again and explore our world, our time will come again soon. Until then, all of us have opportunities to explore within our immediate communities and physically distance while also socializing. Some suggestions to meet the needs of wandering include walking in a new area in your community, going for a car ride down a country road, camp in your backyard, binge on Our Planet via your streaming service, or even read a book set in a different country. Our world will never be the same, but we will appreciate it more when we can explore again!


How to Indulge Your Wanderlust at Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic. Retrieved from:

Social vs. Physical Distancing: Why It Matters by Amy Banks. Retrieved from:

Copper Country Autism Awareness

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From the Copper Country Autism Awareness group:


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For a few fleeting moments this afternoon, the sun somewhat made an attempt to peek out from behind the clouds. The rain ceased, momentarily, and brightness waged a battle with the grayness of the clouds. In a mindful moment, I happened to catch this brief glimpse of hope the sun provided. A small ray of hope that things will be brighter, and drier, in the near future. It also made me reflect on how hard it is to find that beacon of hope in the vast amount of dreary gray. Had my schedule not aligned, the blinds on my window not open, or my mind distracted by responsibilities, I may have missed this few moments of the gift that served as a reminder that better days shall come. This can be similar to mental health. When all is dark, gray, dreary, and uncomfortable it can be hard to catch a glimpse of the brightness that struggles to break through the clouds. Yet, we know the sun is there. Somewhere. And we also know we need the rain clouds. One of my favorite quotes reads as follows:

“The word ‘happiness’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.” – Jung

We need sadness sometimes. To experience emotions is to be human. Even the uncomfortable ones serve a purpose. It is our job to find that purpose. Just like the rain provides water for life. The sun provides energy. It can be hard to see at times. It can be hard to find at times. It can seem never ending and hopeless at times. We may need help to find it, yet, it’s there.  My wish for you is that you find that elusive, brief ray of sunshine when feeling down. Damp. Dark. It’s there, even if you can’t catch a glimpse at this very moment.

In a related topic, the weather can greatly influence our mood. There are those who love rain. Those who strongly dislike rain. shares distinct types of people and their view on weather patterns. There are summer lovers who experience a better mood in warmer and sunnier weather, summer haters who experience a worse mood with warm, sunny weather, and rain haters who experience a bad mood on rainy days. There are also those who are unaffected and experience minimal changes in mood based on the weather. Pluviophiles are people who love the rain and find it to be healing and relaxing. describes a link found between aggression and higher temperatures. Rainfall was also found to increase aggression for people. Yet, these two things may not be correlated. Could they? Some studies, according to, have possibly linked life satisfaction with the weather. On sunnier days, people report being happier with their life. On rainy days, less report being satisfied with their lives. This research? It’s really not clear. Like the sky today. Research aside, make the best of the day and remember that there is a chance the sky will eventually clear and we will see the sun again.

Luke Perry, Alex Trebek, J-Lo, and the Jonas Bros…

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Celebrities… Why do we Care?

This past week we mourned the loss of Luke Perry following his death caused by a stroke a few days prior. Toward the end of the week, we had feels for Alex Trebek who announced a stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Jennifer Lopez (J-Lo) and Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) got engaged over the weekend. And, if you haven’t already heard, the Jonas brothers are back together and released a catchy single.

According to PsychologyToday (2015), our ancestors had to cooperate with in-group members for survival and success. At the same time, in-group members were also their competition when it came to sharing of resources. Knowing who to trust and how to manage relationships helped with success. Modern media presents celebrities to us often and we (not all, but most) know a lot about the affairs of in-group members. This makes these celebrities present to us as being socially important. The celebrities we see frequently become as familiar to us, if not more so, than our neighbors. PsychologyToday (2015) notes that when we know intimate details about someone’s life, that person becomes important to us. Celebrities become the “friends” we have in common with others.

Nostalgia can also play a role as we mourn the loss of a celebrity. Thinking about the celebrity brings back memories of songs, movies, and other emotional experiences that involved that individual (PsychologyToday, 2016). Celebrity deaths also build empathy and provide opportunities for education and understanding related to addiction, depression, and other health issues.

We get exposed to celebrities on a frequent basis, whether we want to or not. Spending time on social media provides this exposure. At the same time, if celebrity gossip is an interest of yours or a conversation “go-to” when with others, you know even more about celebrities. This is why we mourn losses, have complicated emotional reactions to celebrity news, get excited to gossip about the next big celebrity wedding, and bounce along to the latest single on the radio following excitement that a family has recovered and moved on from in-family drama and relationship difficulties.

Know that it is ok to feel sad following a loss or other upsetting news about a celebrity. It is ok to experience a perk of excitement or interest in positive news from celebrities. As long as it’s not taking away from our social interactions with others, it can be healthy to enjoy celebrity gossip. If you’re spending hours mourning and/or turning away social interactions to spend more time online, then it is likely that there are other contributing factors and it will be helpful to seek medical help.

References (2015). Why Caring About Celebrities can be Good for You. Retrieved from: (2016). 3 Reasons We Mourn Celebrity Deaths. Retrieved from:


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There are many reasons that can help explain why someone of any age is forgetful. I wish I could pin point it exactly and say “this is why,” but the truth is it is a little different for each person. There are some common difficulties that can contribute to forgetting things. These include symptoms of ADHD, depression, anxiety, trauma, bereavement… the list goes on.

Working Memory is also known as short-term memory. These are things you hold in memory to complete a task. For example, you are packing up your child for school and need to send them with snowpants, boots, hat, gloves, and a lunch and mid-way through your list, your child reminds you that it is their snack day. They end up going to school with the snack, but you forgot to pack their gloves. Or you’re on the way out the door and you cannot recall where you left your keys. After all, they were right here, right? says that research demonstrates that young children can only hold one or two items in memory. Working memory continues to develop until around age 15, but not everyone develops this skill at the same pace or has the same working memory capacity. Some people can simply store more information than others. We use working memory daily. It is used to read, write, plan, organize, follow conversations, perform mental math, and to follow multi-step directions. It also helps with focus and attention on a task. shares a study that was conducted in the United Kingdom, looking at 3,000 elementary school and junior high school students. The researchers found that weak working memory indicated more struggles in school when compared with low cognitive ability. According to this particular study, almost all of the children with weak working memory scored low on reading comprehension and math tests.

What does this look like during adulthood? Missed work deadlines, half-completed projects, losing keys/phone/wallet, forgetting what you want to say in conversations…

So what can you do?

Develop a routine. Always setting your keys, for example, in the same spot makes it easier to find them the next time because it increases predictability. Follow a sequence related to whatever it is you typically lose/forget.

Reduce multi-tasking. Focus on one task at a time. Break it down into smaller chunks. “Chunk” items together, similar to re-calling a phone number. We recall phone numbers in 3 chunks of numbers versus remembering the whole number.

Take breaks. Exercise. Move your body, even if just a little. Drink water. Make sure you’re not hungry. How much sleep have you gotten recently? Take care of your basic needs.

Practice. The more you train your working memory, the stronger it gets. Flashcards, puzzles, making lists of words/numbers and trying to recall them…


Difficulties with working memory can be caused by many different things. Above are some mentioned strategies to try at home, but working with a professional to assist with building skills and to reduce symptoms is recommended if your memory is impacting your daily life. Therapy and/or assessment can assist with getting to the root of the problem and addressing it to increase success.


References Say Goodbye to “Oh, I forgot!”.

Recovering from Failure

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Everyone remembers at least one moment in their life where failure hit them, seemingly, in the heart like a ton of bricks. It takes your breath away and for a brief moment, our emotions are intense. Then we have to decide what comes next. And that, truth be told, is the hardest. Those emotions don’t go away and our brains remember that moment of failure the next time we are in the same or a similar situation. Psychology Today shares that failure makes the same goal seem less attainable and that it distorts our perceptions of our abilities. It also leads us to unconsciously self-sabotage ourselves in future activities.

Forbes emphasizes the clichés. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. When it rains it pours. I’ve always been taught that bad things happen in sets of 3. So when one, two bad things happen my body and brain go into “here it comes” mode and waits in annoying anticipation for the third and final bad thing. Research suggests, perhaps, that we bring this on ourselves unconsciously.

We’ve all heard those clichés. And we have experienced these moments in our lives. Forbes focuses on “The Loser Effect” which is based in research in which monkeys that made a mistake, even after mastering a task, later performed worse than the monkeys that made no mistakes. This suggested that the monkeys were thrown off by the mistakes, which is opposite of us thinking that they should have learned from the mistake. Other research, according to Forbes, suggests that failure impedes our concentration and sabotages our future performance. Forbes put it best when they said that when we fail, our brains say “Abandon Ship!” How many of us have been there? “I failed. I’m done.” End of goal.

So how do we succeed after failure? According to Forbes, it helps to not fixate on our failure. Internalizing it makes it worse when we try future tasks. This is that self-sabotage we were talking about earlier. It’s important to re-frame our thoughts and beliefs about the failure and re-imagine it. Our memory changes each time we recall something, so re-framing can help us see the failure in a more positive light with very little effort. Setting specific goals and celebrating the small successes help with moving forward, according to Forbes. Failure, according to the article, can become a memory or a habit. Which will you choose?



Forbes. This is What Happens to Your Brain When You Fail and How to Fix it. Retrieved from:

Psychology Today. 10 Surprising Facts About Failure. Retrieved from:

What to Know About Therapy

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Attending therapy for the first time can be daunting. No, let me rephrase that, it is daunting. Especially if you’ve never done it before and your only experience with it is what you’ve seen on TV and in the movies. One thing I can assure you is that therapy is not like it is in the movies. It takes a lot of courage to decide to attend therapy and even more courage to make the phone call, schedule the appointment, and walk through the front door. Here are some insider tips about therapy and those first encounters.

It is ok to tell the therapist that you’re nervous. But seriously, a good therapist is already going to recognize that. The first session is more of a meet and greet and “get-to-know-you” than anything else. This is where diagnosis and treatment planning occurs. This first session is not like future sessions. The first session tends to be more technical than personal, but it gives you opportunity to share your goals and to decide if the therapist is a good match. Comfort and rapport are essential to therapeutic process. If you don’t think it’s a good match, say so. While therapeutic progress takes time, you should follow your gut on whether or not you can be vulnerable with the therapist. If it is not a good fit, progress will take even longer. A professional therapist will not be offended if it’s not feeling ok for you. Therapists recognize how important the relationship is for moving forward.

Subsequent sessions are more in-depth and focus on healing and growth. These take vulnerability. Openness. A willingness to be uncomfortable and insightful. Therapeutic approaches are different for different therapists, but the one thing that remains the same is the need for comfort, respect, and vulnerability. So go ahead and engage in some self-care via therapy!

The new site is up and running…

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Welcome to my new website.  Please check back for additional updates and posts.