With our loved ones on top of us in close quarters, or accessible only through a screen, things will inevitably be messy. Yet these challenges can help strengthen our personal resiliency.
By Claudia M. Gold
Simone’s anxiety shot through the roof whenever the hour of a work-related Zoom call approached. Her neck muscles clenched, and her pulse raced. As a single mom to 3-year-old Chloe, she and her daughter had developed a predictable routine that blew apart in a disorganized mess when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Now Chloe descended rapidly into an all-out tantrum the instant she lost her mother’s attention to the computer screen.
But in a trial and error process, Simone discovered a creative solution. When she used her headphones and the screen of her cellphone instead of the laptop, Chloe would play happily at her side for the entire call. Chloe felt her mother’s presence just enough to stay calm and content.
A week before this discovery, in a team meeting check-in with her fellow mental health counselors at a group practice, the team leader asked how people were spending their time. While others described walks with their families or baking bread, when Simone’s turn came she had answered simply, “Crying.”
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