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Parenting Kids During a Pandemic – COVID-19

Posted on April 17, 2020

After 25-years of meditation practice, 20 plus years of providing ccounselling and coaching and parenting personally, I wanted to offer some tools to help parents grow through these unusual times.

Parenting can be challenging at the best of times and now, many parents are finding themselves at home, working remotely and attempting to parent and school their children all at the same time!

I’m hearing parents struggle to manage all of these demands. They are reporting their anxiety is up, their self-care is down and many are troubled . 

While any given daily event or life circumstance may cause discomfort, it is our mind that is the cause of our suffering. Armed with stories of the past or worries of the future, our thoughts remove us from the present – often leaving us anxious and much less able to effectively cope with what is currently before us. Gaining awareness of our thoughts and how they influence our state in this new and bizzare reality is key to calming the mind.

Parents are still running –  literally… get ready for work while preparing the kids for online school, trying to maintain routine at home all while booting up their computer and opening their next zoom meetings. You get the picture….trying to do two jobs at the same time! Being and staying mindful and present is challenging when the, to do list, is simply too long..

Here are 8 tips that will help reduce the stress and set you on your path towards being the mindful, calmer parent you can be even during a pandemic!

1. Accept what is real. Whether we like it or not, one human is simply that, only one human. Regardless of the demands being asked of you by work, your partner, your children’s teachers, what are realistic goals to set for yourself, your family, your children? What goals are reasonable/achievable and what goals will result in disappointment in yourself, your children, and your family? Take a moment now to write down some goals and daily tasks for your family that are realistically achievable. 

2. Take personal time-outs for yourself. With a likely hectic house full of kids and working parents, all day long, I had to place personal time-outs near the top of this list.  Being willing to recognize that you too may be experiencing added stress is the first step. Next acknowledge that you and your needs matter in the midst of all of these pandemic related demands. Recognize that you have the power to make this decision.  Choosing this amongst the chaos demonstrates to your children the necessity of self-care. Rather than an overextended, tense and distracted parent, your children can witness that self-care is part of healthy living. Amid this new reality of the COVID-19, taking mindful breaks to re-center will make a huge difference to helping you be more present when you are with your children.

Even a few minutes alone in a room away from others will have an impact. What about granting yourself alone time daily, where you recharge through quiet and/or an activity you find nourishing? How will you make yourself a priority in the schedule today and plan self care forward this week?

3. Practice being present with your children.

Science consistently shows that relationships with family is a vital source of happiness. So, park your mobile phone on silent, drop the school and work demands and commit to 20-30 minutes daily of undivided attention to your children without a task to accomplish. Do a fun activity of their choice, go for a walk or just have a cuddle on the couch. Set the intention to be fully present. That may sound simple, but be patient with yourself if it’s difficult to achieve at first.

4. Allowing the use of  devices as a reward to help motivate your children

It’s important to make clear and realistic rules about TV, video-games and smartphone usage in your home especially now given the demands on your time right now. Be clear with your children about what they need to have completed before they get access to their entertainment. Enforce these rules consistently. Given all that is happening now, don’t guilt yourself about the extra time you may allow your children on devices even daily. If you have work to do, this shorter term support for your family functioning won’t cause long term harm. 

5. Practice gratitude with your kids.

Expressing gratitude is one of the quickest and most powerful ways to feel calm and get present. Model this for your children. At the dinner table each night, have each family member give one example of something they are grateful for that day, no matter how small. This routine takes only a few moments, yet creates connection. It helps the family conversation organize around certainty, what is known, reassuring and which is calming. 

6. Explore different ways of being together.…. with your kids.

Meditating together is a great way to help your kids experience the benefits of meditation from an early age. Start with a brief guided meditation, say 5-10 minutes, and expand this together as they grow. The benefits will be long-lasting. And if your kids don’t join you initially, teach through modelling your commitment to a meditation practice daily. We know that modelling is the most powerful teacher for our children anyway!

7. Be aware of how you respond to the world around you.

Demonstrate compassion not only with yourself and your children, but also with the world around you. Given all that is currently happening, it’s easy to retract with anxiety and give an anxious message in response to the anxiety all around us. Choose to practice the safe rules science has given us for COVID-19 and ensure yourself and your family what can be controlled based on this information. Others may be in highly reactive states, when you do go for a shop or a walk. Breath and look to understand while demonstrating patience and calm to your children. Modelling and practicing compassion will help your children develop a calmer response to any given circumstance they encounter.

8. Self-care, again.

Okay a second reminder about self-care because it matters this much! As parents, it’s easy to be distracted from our own needs due to the many responsibilities we have for others especially at a time when the demands on us have dramatically risen. As a result, it’s easy to forget to schedule our own self-care. Many of us even feel guilty when we try to take time to do the things that we enjoy. Recognize that self-care creates “a healthier, happier you” which in turn results in you being a more effective, healthier and happier parent. The result? Healthier and happier children and family!

What’s next?

Take a look back over these 7 easy tips and commit to a few at first. During this strange new norm we find ourselves in,  we need to choose to control those things that are reasonable, realistic and that allow for time to connect and enjoy ourselves and our families. Be kind to yourself first because you are under a great deal of stress along with so many others at this time.

Keeping Your Mind in the Right Place, COVID-19

Posted on March 27, 2020

By Heather Bach MA, CCC

BCG Clinic Director

We are now offering free counselling to healthcare workers dealing with COVID-19 who do not have health coverage. Contact us to book your appointment today. 
To Download your application form click here…

Anxiety and stress are natural and healthy responses to uncertainty and perceived danger; there is no reason to be “alarmed” about feeling alarmed!

A normal response to COVID-19 is distress, the Fight Flight or Freeze response (FFF Responses). This occurs in the oldest part of your brain, the limbic system. The amygdala is the key player, a small almond-shaped area in the mid brain that helps you respond to threat. However, it cannot differentiate between real and imagined! So, if you focus on perceived threat, the amygdala will focus on FFF response….and your anxiety will increase! Let’s handle that.

Your nervous system may urge you to hyper focus on the COVID-19. This is a survival strategy directed by your amygdala. Now this is a primitive player in the working of your very sophisticated brain. But this response can take over and if allowed have you obsessing and even hoarding supplies as a survival strategy. Allowing this part of your brain to be in charge is like allowing the least intelligent part of your brain to steer the ship! It will keep you feeling anxious, uncomfortable, and even obsessing and hoarding. It can keep you awake at night, interrupt your diet, increase drug and/or alcohol use and create other destructive coping strategies. And to top it off, with all this work on survival, you will be distracted from your relationships which is one of the places were humans find comfort and calm.

Take some time now to be aware of the state of your mental health. What part of your brain is in charge now. Notice the story in your mind and ask yourself if it’s your amygdala, FFF or are you integrating the COVID-19 information while remaining balanced in your thinking. Now, because this is a moving target keep checking in and respond with compassion no matter where you find yourself.

Here’s a few tips to help you attend to your mental health and foster the wisest part of your brain to be in the driver’s seat!

Coping with Feelings in Response to COVID-19

  1. Remind yourself that is it normal to feel uncomfortable when life presents unpredictable challenges and interrupts what you know and trust to be constant. With COVID-19 you are receiving directions that are out of control. A natural response to this can be anxiety, denial, anger and grief and loss.
  2. Validate your feelings and resist the temptation to make how you’re feeling wrong. Notice how your body is feeling. Notice the sensations in your body and accept the experience. Check in regularly.
  3. Emotional reactions are often mitigated by taking action, so focus on what you can control over what you cannot. After receiving information about COVID -19, plan the practical actions you want to take to look after the safety of yourself and others. This includes things like washing your hands and working out how to maintain physical distance while  providing yourself with calm and comfort.
  4. Anxiety and stress can be worsened by certain behaviours. Be aware and mindful about what increases your anxiety. Limit your information-seeking to specific times and reliable sources. Turn off or mute other sources of news and information that can increase and trigger your anxiety.
  5. Recognize the need for social connection. Yes, while being physically distant from people outside of your home and isolating yourself is needed, social connection is still critical for human happiness. You need to feel a part of a social community of those you care for and that care for you. Plan your social connection time using alternate means of connecting like the phone, video calling. A “date” or dinner party by Zoom, Facetime or WhatsApp is a wonderful means of maintaining this connection. You meet a friend for a walk, two meters apart. If you live with someone at home, you can take this opportunity to enhance and celebrate your relationship with things like special meals, games, activities movie nights or physical intimacy.
  6. Your brain and anxiety respond well to structure and routine, so create some consistency within your day at home. Plan your day to include things like regular mealtimes, proper hygiene, activities to complete and or explore within self- imposed structured time.
  7. Get your physical activity! Without question, the relationship between mood, anxiety and fitness is clear. Plan different ways you can stay active: 2 walks a day, run, stationary bike, weights, online fitness, yoga…. or whatever works for to maintain a level of activity.

Be intentional about your mental health. Recognize what you need to maintain your wellness and design your day to nourish your overall health.

When your emotions are overwhelming and don’t respond to self-care or social support, seek professional help. We are here for you with a team of licensed counsellors offering tele-health / virtual counselling.

We are now offering free counselling to healthcare workers dealing with COVID-19 who do not have health coverage. Contact us to book your appointment today.

By Heather Bach MA, CCC

BCG Clinic Director

Preparing for Your Online/Video Counselling 

Posted on March 21, 2020

Preparing for Your Online/Video Counselling 

Given the current outbreak of COVID-19, we are providing secured online counselling to ensure your counselling is consistent and safe for you, your family and our staff.

Online counselling uses secure and user friendly technology to create major shifts in clients’ emotional health. It has been successfully utilized by many and now you can ensure your safety and continue your counselling from the comfort of your own home.


Be prepared prior to your appointment time:

  1. Check your internet connection/data is strong and that you have a webcam.
  2. Be sure your device is fully charged or plugged in.
  3. Use headphones/earbuds for better quality sound and this may help the experience to feel more private.
  4. Close other windows on your device and if using an iPhone, set, ‘do not disturb’, to minimize disruptions.
  5. Find a quiet and private space in your home, in your car or even in an outdoor space where you will not be interrupted. If there are others in your home, let them know you won’t be available during this time.
  6. If you have voice activated systems in your home, unplug them.
  7. Have water or tea and tissue to assist with your comfort
  8. Please share any concerns about this experience with your therapist.

Our admin, Emma, will help you with any questions you have about online video counselling. You will receive an email invitation to your next appointment that will guide you to your video session. We look forward to connecting with you at your next appointment.


*While online counselling is effective for helping with anxiety and other emotional conditions, it does not replace medical assistance in emergencies. If you are in an emergency, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room or if you have serious questions regarding COVID-19 please call 811.

Taking Care of Your Emotional Health During COVID-19

Posted on March 21, 2020

Taking Care of Your Emotional Health During COVID-19

We are now offering free counselling to healthcare workers dealing with COVID-19 who do not have health coverage. Contact us to book your appointment today.
To Download your application form click here…

This information was primarily collected from The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention

It is natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during and after a disaster. Everyone reacts differently, and your feelings will change over time. Resist the temptation to make yourself wrong for your stress. Notice and accept how you feel and know that your emotions are temporary. Taking care of your emotional health will help you think clearly and react accordingly to protect yourself and your family. Self-care will help both your coping and your long-term recovery. People with pre-existing mental health conditions should continue with their treatment plans during this time and monitor for any new symptoms.

Steps to cope with a distress:

  1. Take care of your body– Eat healthy regular well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
  2. Connect with others– Share your concerns and how you are feeling with friends or family. Maintain healthy relationships. Use technology and build a strong support system.
  3. Take breaks–Remind yourself that your feelings will change. Take a few moments to notice your breath and considering the social restrictions, make time to do activities you enjoy.
  4. Stay informed–Watch, listen to, or read the news for updates from reputable government resources. Be aware of general media distortions.
  5. Limit media exposure– Set a time limit for yourself. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Do enjoyable activities and return to normal life as much as possible.
  6. Seek help when needed– If distress impacts activities of your daily life for several days or weeks, reach your medical doctor and/or contact a reputable counselling source.

Common signs of distress:

  • Feelings of numbness, disbelief, anxiety or fear.
  • Changes in appetite, energy, and activity levels.
  • Difficulty concentrating and/or agitation.
  • Difficulty sleeping or nightmares and upsetting thoughts and images.
  • Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems.
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

**If you experience these feelings or behaviors for several days in a row and are unable to carry out normal responsibilities because of them, please seek professional help.

Bach Counselling Group –Virtual Online Counselling,, 604 904-0898