Ann Douglas: Compassion is Key to Hanging onto Mental Well-being during COVID-19

“So if I seem to preach self-care a little too enthusiastically, it’s for good reason. I’m a pretty passionate convert.”

Ann Douglas, Parenting Through the Storm, 2015

Today’s psychological challenges accompanying COVID-19 affect everyone. “I guess I am still an optimist even though my optimism muscles have been a little strained lately.” That is from Ann Douglas, parenting author and noted broadcaster, one of the most up-beat people I know.

Like many parents and guardians, Ann says she is both worried about and proud of her young-adult children. Her youngest son is part of the machinery to keep essential products moving. Her daughter is working in a hospital, having grown from an anxious teenager. Ann’s stories are so relatable, they bring me to the edge of tears.

Ann is a strong advocate of parents and guardians taking care of themselves to be stronger for their families, especially around mental-health challenges. No doubt about it, says Ann, COVID-19 is a huge obstacle to well-being on so many levels.

Physical distancing takes away many of strategies that many of us have to boost mental health, such getting together and giving hugs. We have to look at new ways to ease our own anxieties and keep our own body and mind in an okay state. Anyone who has heard Ann speak or read her books, also knows that she encourages parents and guardians to be kind to themselves.

As far as the wider community is concerned, “let parents and kids know they aren’t in this alone,” she says. In doing our best to be good neighbours, we help ourselves: “The act of feeling needed is sometimes even more vital.”

Ann concluded with a silver-lining prediction like no other: “I honestly think we can come out of this experience a stronger, more connected planet, community, world. Relationships have always been important and right now they mean everything.”

Listen to our discussion via Zoom in April about getting through COVID-19 (4 minutes).

Ann Douglas, author and speaker, is an inspiration for parents and guardians at this time.


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