You are already infected.

Without knowing how to avoid COVID, we spin in circles from hand-washing to wearing masks. The uncertainty causes a secondary pandemic that has already infected us all: the flood of cortisol and other stress hormones.

As a Positive Psychologist focused on building positive family cultures,

  • I see parents attempt to adapt to the new demands of work.
    • I listen to children suffering from the loss of structure.
      • I witness families who don’t know how to steer through endless months of not knowing what comes next.

The stress is so constant that we get used to it.

Last weekend, taking a hike in the spectacular Berkshire Mountains, Betsy and I found a miraculous gift that reminded us how much the pandemic has taken away from us all. Two hours before the sun was going to set, a panicked father approached us: his daughter was missing! Can you imagine what he was going through? He gave us a brief description in case we were to stumble upon her, and then he ran off. Needless to say, We felt horrible for him and scared for his daughter. And of course, we thought that there was NO way we would come across her on such a large mountain.

Still, only 20 minutes later, there she was!! She appeared behind us, out of breath from an hour-long panic attack, talking a mile-a-minute, and near tears. We were able to calm her down and guide her down the mountain, where her family embraced her with tears of gratitude.

When her father offered to buy us a bottle of wine, we declined. The truth was: He needed it more than we did! Without knowing it, he had already given us a rare gift, even more rare given the pandemic: the ability to help a stranger.

On the drive home, we recalled how much we missed all of the random interactions with people. Not only did we get a momentary break from the constant flood of stress hormones like cortisol, but finding that lost girl served up a welcome dose of the “bliss hormone” of oxytocin. We laughed and joked, feeling it coursing through our nervous systems.

(pin this image on Pinterest)

Do you remember the good old days when we used to complain about the stress of our daily lives? Now it feels like we didn’t even know what real stress was!

In the last few months, we watched our self-care routines fly out the window. Bags of chips and glasses of wine have flown back in to replace them. Our sleep is disturbed. I can’t tell you how much I miss going to the movies. I named the dent in my couch “Netflix.”

Underneath these changes in routine, we are suffering at a cellular level. I see cortisol flooding our bodies by the truckload, a constant barrage on our nervous systems causing health problems and a level of mental fatigue that shapes how we treat each other and care for ourselves.

As a Positive Psychologist, I help parents create positive family cultures that raise the next generation of kick-ass kids. To prevent the overload of stress hormones, I coach parents to use mindfulness and breathing techniques to slow down. The result: they can make calmer decisions and become less reactive.

We also create habits that lead to shared moments of happiness and kindness. Flexing these superpowers changes the ratio in our nervous systems, combatting the dominance of stress hormones with doses of serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin, the “happiness hormones.”

You don’t need to rescue lost children on a mountaintop to regain a balance in your brain chemistry. I help parents approach challenges like working from home and virtual learning in a healthier way.

I help organizations and work teams find a new balance in the pandemic. Your kids aren’t going to wait until your “important meeting” is over to demand your attention. You may not be a teacher but you are the person your children need right now. I help parents turn the challenge of working from home into an opportunity to create a positive family culture where you support each other to manage stress and increase your daily dose of happiness hormones. In addition to getting your work done, you will gain a greater connection with your family, more space for yourself, and happier kids.

Do you want to know more about my workshops for organizations who want to help their employees manage the new challenges of the pandemic? Click here to schedule a time to chat.