EDITORIAL: The past six months have been incredibly stressful. Time to take a deep breath.

It is understandable if some parents’ anxieties are triggered by this week’s interview with psychologist Sharon Selby.

The past six months have been incredibly stressful. On the surface, so much of our lives seems normal.

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There are no bombs falling out of the sky. Unemployed workers are not lining up for blocks to receive “the dole.” We’re still allowed to go outside for a walk.

However, a microscopic virus is making each decision fraught with anxiety. Will this action – grocery shopping, hugging a parent, sending children to school – expose us or them to the coronavirus?

If we are exposed, will we – or one of the people we’re in contact with – spend weeks in the hospital or die?

Our brains were not designed for such pervasive stressors. Yes, evolution has provided us with the tools to help us if a sabre-toothed tiger jumps out of the bushes but those tools were designed for short bursts of stress. In today’s world, they are hurting us.

Our bodies are in constant “fight, flight or freeze” mode.

And now parents might have to add psychologist to their repertoire. “Really? One more thing to add to my already jammed day? What if I don’t have the skills?”

Take heart – the tools Selby discusses are helpful to us all. Cognitive behaviour therapy is a formal term for lessons embodied in deceptively simple sayings such as “Don’t cross that bridge until you get to it.”

A deep breath calms our brain’s false alarms.

We can do this. Repeat. We can do this.

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