Mother of all problems: Expert tips for mothers on managing COVID-19 stress
HALIFAX -- Mothers are among the most stressed during the pandemic. Many of them juggling many types of work, on top of working from home.
The stress many mothers feel has been adding up since the start of the pandemic, according to at least one expert.
"It’s incredible," says Dr. Tanya Tulipan. She’s an IWK doctor in the reproductive mental health services department, and teaches the prenatal mental health at Dalhousie.
"I'm getting phone calls from women who are having anxiety attacks from it all – especially moms who are very hard on themselves," says Tulipan. “They feel like they can’t do anything right."
Kimberly Grant, a mother of two, is home with her kids during the third wave of COVID-19. She says they’re both adjusting to the changes – but some days are better than others.
"One of my kids wakes me up – early," she says. “And I’m still half asleep and I’m like: 'do you want to watch Netflix on your phone? Because mommy can’t even manage yet.'"
Dr. Tulipan says it’s okay to feel this way.
"Engage in what we call 'radical acceptance,'" she says. “That this is a tough time for everything – that nobody is going to be at their best, and that’s okay."
"You don’t have to be at your best 100 per cent of the time," Tulipan adds.
Jerica Bourque is another mother juggling life during the pandemic.
She’s working from home while her two kids learn from home. She tries to keep a regular routine during COVID-19, but says the latest round of restrictions is making that difficult.
"It’s quite new right now, so it’s not horrible at the moment," she says. "But yesterday and the day before I was feeling more down on myself, you know, I haven’t been able to go to the gym and I’m finding that difficult."
Dr. Tulipan says it’s important to get outside when you can, in a safe way, and connect with family and friends online for support.
She says it’s normal to feel a range of emotions during the pandemic, like uncertainty, fear, and worry – but adds it’s important to understand that this is temporary.
Her final point: if you or someone you know is seriously struggling with mental health, professional help is available.