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Nov 02, 2020

Heimlich Heroes: Staying Positive During COVID-19, Part 1

You’ve Got to ‘Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive’

Lines from a song written in 1944, music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by Johnny Mercer, ring true in today’s world. Not familiar with this tune? Here’s more: 

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
 
You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith, or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene

  
This current series of Heimlich Heroes™ blogs may seem like a complete departure. But our organization is not only committed to the life-saving training on how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver®. We also support those we typically work with, namely: teachers, school nurses and administrators, parents, families, and many others.

Stay Healthy. Step by Step

Perhaps the most important step in staying positive is staying healthy. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, and as the pandemic and other pandemonium drags on, it’s tempting to let down your guard. But you already know how critical it is to teach your children and reinforce preventive steps—every single day.

  • Wash your hands. And encourage your child to do the same. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
  • Wear a mask. When you’re in public and around people not living in your household, ensure everyone wears a mask (two years of age or older).
  • Keep your distance. Avoid close contact with people who don’t live with you. Ensure your kids and household maintain the suggested six feet—especially from people coughing and sneezing.
  • Cover your mouth. Just like your mother told you, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Toss it into the closest garbage can and wash your hands.
  • Child healthcare visits. Keep up with routine well-child and vaccine visits. A flu shot is essential to protect your child, as well as your family.
  • Keep Kids Active. Physical activity can improve children’s physical and mental health. Get creative and set a positive example. Lead an active lifestyle and make physical activity a daily family routine.

A couple of great resources to get your creative juices going are https://whatmomslove.com/kids/active-indoor-games-activities-for-kids-to-burn-energy/ and https://www.itsalwaysautumn.com/best-indoor-kid-crafts-activities.html

Turn the Beat of Negativity Around

In times of stress and/or crisis, children can become needier and more demanding. Navigating the 2020-21 school year—particularly through virtual learning—may take a heavy toll on the mental health of both students and parents. Parents may recognize signs of kids’ anxiety or stress through behavior changes. Teachers will be on “high alert” (even through Zoom learning) for similar signs: a student repeatedly asking the same questions, increased fidgeting, etc.

How can we encourage positivity? Just remember there’s a LOT going on, and everyone is doing their best. If you’re not familiar with the concept of thought placement, make a conscious effort to replace negative thinking or guilt with self-compassion and positive thinking. One practical idea is to keep a big jar or clear vase on the coffee table, or somewhere visible. and a stack of note cards beside it. Call it the JOY JAR.

Each night take time to write down one thing you were thankful for or that brought you joy that day. It might be as simple as:

  • “I heard the kids giggling in the other room”
  • “I have a place to sleep and be warm” or
  • “I got to catch up with an old friend today”

Encourage other family members to do the same. At the end of the week or month (or as needed), take an evening to read them over and share with the family what you have been thankful for that period of time. Put the cards in a gift bag with your names on them and add to it each month. It’s a great way to remind ourselves of all the blessings we truly have, even during hard and strange times.

We can be surrounded by all that’s not going well and things to worry about. Be aware of what you’re focusing on. Take time to reflect on those things going well in your life and talk about them. In short, accentuate the positive!

Here is a treat for you, hope you enjoy!

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