Mother’s Day How to Celebrate During Times of Social Distancing

With the current state of things it may seem difficult to celebrate in the ways we are used to. Brunch, pedicures, spa treatments, day trips… These all seem to be hindered by current restraints, regulations, and closings. Fear not, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate Mother’s Day for yourself and the special women in your life. 

First, take a deep breath and remember that different is just that … different, it doesn’t have to be synonymous with bad. There is still much to celebrate and still much joy to be found. This year is different but different can be wonderfully memorable. Some resources are local to the Annapolis Md area, but many can be altered or adjusted regardless of location.

Below are some great ways to make this Mother’s Day the best one yet. 

Jewelry Making: Local Shops like The Twisted Bead are offering contactless shopping. Order beads and jewelry making supplies online or from local retailers or get creative with items you have in your own home (clay, pasta, old or broken jewelry, craft materials) come up with one of a kind wearable creations that will forever be a reminder that love is unstoppable. 

DIY Sip and Paint Experience: Youtube offers a wide range of guided painting videos that are perfect for any experience or ability level. Grab your favorite bottle of wine and create a new piece of art to treasure. My eight year old daughter and I enjoy the Art Sherpa videos on Youtube which are always vibrant in color and easy and enjoyable for adults and children. 

Enjoy a living room concert: Create a playlist of your favorite artists and enjoy an array of snacks while you get lost in the music that speaks to your soul. Each member of the family can create their own playlist and share why it is meaningful or maybe even share songs they would dedicate to each other. 

Virtual Tours and Vacations: Where is some place you would absolutely love to travel to? What destination is on your bucket list? Enjoy online tours of these exotic destinations (google, youtube, travel blogs…) or better yet have your family put together a slideshow of your dream vacation and enjoy a front row seat to daydreaming while snacking on themed food and drink options. Sometimes when the real thing just isn’t an option, a mindful experience can be the next best thing and lead to fun dreams and planning for future adventures. 

Organize Family Photos and Create Custom Albums Together: How many photos do we all have stored on our phones and computers? Sometimes just looking at these photos and reliving the memories together can brighten our mood and remind us just how much good there is in life. Work together to relive these memories and organize them into keepsake albums. Use sites like shutterfly to design your custom albums.

At home spa days: DIY spa days can be as luxurious as you want them to be. Dim the lights, play soothing music, and order your favorite spa products online or create DIY salt scrubs, sugar scrubs, and facemasks. Seek out local moms who may have inventory for Mary Kay, Avon, or Arbonne and see if they can help put together an at home spa package. Sip on lemon water or iced tea, and relax with a good book, a hot bath, or an indulgent podcast. 

Family Fashion Shows and Photo Shoots: Make the most of your time together and create lasting memories and laughs by doing a themed fashion show and photo shoot. High fashion, evening wear, color coordinated, movie characters, halloween, or any theme you desire. 

Family Bake Off: Who’s the best baker in the house? Have everyone pick a recipe and let the competition begin. Friendly competition is made even more fun by getting to enjoy homemade treats when its time to judge the final products. 

Illustrate and Share a Favorite Family Memory: Have every member of the family come up with their favorite memory or two. Have them write about why it is so meaningful or illustrate the memory and create a keepsake book of family favorites. 

 To-Go Goodies: Brunch or lunch to go and socially distant picnics can be a great way to indulge in fine foods and spend time with those you love. Some of my local favorites are wine pairings to go from Luna Blue, the Mother’s Day Tea menu from Reynolds Tavern, and the ever delicious to go brunch boxes from Cafe Mezzanote. If possible enjoy a social distance picnic from a safe distance with the special women in your life, or utilize services like zoom for a virtual celebration. 

No matter how you choose to celebrate this year, remember you are loved and we are all in this together.

Occupational Therapy For Children Via Telehealth

This is a stressful time for all of us. And for parents of children with special needs this can be even more challenging. Parents want to ensure that their children are receiving the care and intervention they need and are striving to ensure that they receive continuity of care. Fortunately businesses like Children at Play in Annapolis know that the show must go on! They have found ways to successfully offer occupational therapy to children and families in their own home using many unexpected items they may already have in their households. Listen to owner Samantha Hyali give tips on continuity of care and even talk about a sensory bin delivery service!

Dr. Bubnik-Harrison with Kennedy Krieger Talks About Helping Families Through Stressful Times

During times of stress we can all use a little guidance. Dr. Bubnik-Harrison with Kennedy Krieger talks openly with me about how families can work through times of stress with compassion and understanding for each other. Whether that be dealing with current events like Covid-19 or any stressful situation such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a pet, a big move, etc. There are professionals at Kennedy Krieger available to help guide you through long term scenarios or those random curve balls life likes to throw at us. Advice and insight for children and juveniles from ages 5-20. (Telehealth services available)

Insight for how to address and work through trauma, how to address behavior issues that may arise from stress or anxiety, and how parents and caregivers can make sure they are meeting their own needs while caring for others.

Below is some helpful information from SAMHSA about talking with children during infectious disease outbreaks. For more publications on this topic and other valuable insight, please visit their website.

Telehealth Services During COVID 19

During the COVID-19 crisis many health insurance companies are offering coverage for telehealth services. Here is a list of local mental health providers offering telehealth.

There is so much happening in the world around us. Our daily routines have been all but shattered, and in their place sometimes it seems all that is left is chaotic uncertainty. Many parents are worried about the lasting effects of unstructured days, lack of schooling, lost time with friends, and excess screen time are going to have on their children. While these cares and concerns are valid, the short answer is, it will all be ok. Breathe, and repeat after me, it will all be ok. This is a temporary curve ball, a temporary detour to our daily lives. It is definitely a time of uncertainty and heavy doses of anxiety, but this is not forever.Whether we are talking about widespread illness like COVID 19 or any other potentially difficult circumstances we may face at any point during our lives, any time of change, uncertainty, struggle, fear or sadness can have a big impact on our quality of life. During difficult times it is important to remember that our internal dialogue is just as important as the messages we are receiving from the world around us. Take time to be mindful and present. Acknowledge that you don’t have to have it all figured out. Tell yourself, I am enough, I am safe, I am loved, I am not alone, and we will get through this together. As far as schedules, parents should not stress themselves out trying to recreate the perfect school environment at home. Every moment of your child’s day does not need to be filled with magic and creativity or planned out perfectly by the hour. However, having a general layout or plan for the day can help keep everyone feeling a little more centered and focused. Don’t feel guilty about a little extra screen time during these difficult periods, many parents have found themselves being full time caregiver, housekeeper, teacher, and working from home. This is a lot of hats to wear and you don’t need to meet any expectation of perfection. Give yourself grace, you are doing the best you can. Allow your children to use the available technology to stay connected with friends and loved ones.

Even with a calm approach to uncertainty in the home, sometimes it’s helpful to get insight and advice from a professional. If you or a family member could use someone to talk to throughout this time of uncertainty there are many mental health providers offering telehealth services to aid those in need while keeping in accordance with social distancing. Listed below are several local providers offering telehealth services. Many are in network with all major insurance carriers including Medicare.

Greater Baltimore Counseling Center (counseling and med management)

Annapolis Child and Family Therapy CenterSafe Harbour Christian CounselingHealthwaves Counseling LLC

Amanda Fincher (specializes in teen and pre teen girls)

Spectrum Behavioral Health

Together Couples Counseling

PDG Therapeutics

Chesapeake Bay Psychological Services

Kennedy Krieger Institute behavioral psychology department 443-923-7508

Baltimore Annapolis Center for Integrative Healing

Mirror Mental Health

Bridgewater Psychology

Anchored Hope Therapy

Innovative Therapeutic Services

Park Wellness Group

Baltimore Washington Counseling Center

Argo Counseling

Solace Family Counseling

Align Counseling & Wellness

Anne Arundel Counseling

Sara Pula

Shawna Bohn Lindberg 410-913-6211

Marie Burgess Marie@thompsonchildtherapy.com

Sue Knight LCSW-C 410-349-6371

Eileen Martini Eamartini@aol.com

Don’t Stop Celebrating

In difficult times of widespread uncertainty it can be hard to find a reason to celebrate. I assure you, if you look hard enough ways and reasons to celebrate are bountiful. Now more than ever, we need to remain positive. We need to remember that life can still be beautiful. We need to seek the joy in every moment. The joys might be hidden, but look harder, I promise they are there.

I wanted to share with you today a positive morning thought: though my celebrations may be smaller, their significance is no less meaningful. Today is Saint Patrick’s day and while we may have some disappointed children that they are not doing fun activities at school…. (and maybe even disappointed adults at the lack of festivities) let us still find ways to celebrate at home. My children had sprinkles in their milk this morning, my attempt at ‘magic milk’ when I realized we were out of green food coloring. We participated in a neighborhood wide activity of coloring shamrocks and taping them to our front doors so whoever goes on a walk this afternoon can see how many they spot. It’s the little things that spark excitement. It’s the little things that remind us that while we may be socially distant, we are still very much connected. Morning FaceTime chats with friends, virtual wine dates, afternoon crafts… these are all moments to find joy in and reasons to celebrate.

Many people are celebrating birthdays, anniversary’s, births, and other exciting events. Life does move forward even though it feels as though everything has come to a screeching halt. Don’t stop living, don’t stop loving, don’t stop celebrating. Use this time to celebrate in your home with those who mean the most to you. Have FaceTime parties, play games, seek meaningful ways to let your loved ones know you care. Yes our celebrations may be smaller but we still have much to celebrate. ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

Stay Home And Stay Safe, The Most Vulnerable Among Us Are Relying On Sound Choices

I found this article to be quite insightful and informative with regards to explaining why play dates are not advised.

Pediatrician Urges Parents To Cancel Play Dates

Before reading this article I also want to state that I am fully aware that there are some parents who are still utilizing their childcare services because as of right now they have no alternatives. The other article I have linked to is the statewide expanded efforts to provide safe and effective childcare for those who have to face this impossible decision. As one mother put it “I am between a financial rock and a crisis hard place.” As governor Hogan stated, for many parents childcare during this time of crisis is still an essential service. As things continue to progress we will have to see if childcare facilities remain open but while they are please exercise extreme caution.

Governor Hogan Enacts Emergency Order to Expand Access to Child Care During COVID-19 State of Emergency

We are in this together and we will love and support each other through this difficult time without judgement. Kindness, compassion, and sound decision making are the only way we will all make it through this especially those most at risk. If you are utilizing childcare please do your best to practice effective hygiene and safety measures and ensure your childcare facility is doing the same. Beyond childcare please have your children refrain from other social interactions. We are all in this together sweet sisters and with love and hope and sound choices we will all come out on the other side and protect the most vulnerable while doing so.

How Humor is Used to Combat Stress

I wanted to talk for a moment about humor. Humor has long been an integral part of modern humanity. Humor is a social salve of sorts and often a universal language. Much like tears, a smile, or a wave, laughter spans languages and cultures.

Now a sense of humor itself varies greatly person to person. Our individual sense of humor is just as unique and versatile as our personalities. Just as we all have different tastes in food or music, different style preferences, or different hobbies we find enjoyment in, we all have different things we find funny and ultimately different senses of humor… some are more vulgar or crass than others, others are dry, others go for shock value, but laughter itself is universal. Now humor should never be at the expense of another person, bullying or belittling another individual, or saying derogatory statements are pretty easy to take offense to and for good reason. Racism is not funny, sexism is not funny, hate speech is not funny etc. Humor has its boundaries.

That being said, humor has a long history of being used to combat fears and navigate social issues. Humor itself is a rather effective coping mechanism for stress.

Throughout history difficult times, stressful events, and oppressive social situations have been the subject of jokes and humorous interpretations.

There are entire television shows dedicated to taking a humorous view of current events, not because the events themselves are funny or not to be taken seriously but because humor can be a unification effort and a much needed reprieve from hard to swallow news or stressful scenarios.

Memes are a prime example of contemporary humor. These memes typically make light of situations or social scenarios that are are difficult to contend with. Humor takes the power of fear and stress away and replaces it with something easier to contend with.

Not everyone will be able to find humor in every situation. What one person is able to see humor in, another might take great offense to. It is important however to realize that neither of these positions are wrong or right as they are two different approaches and two different emotional responses to the same stress, fear, or social concern.

We all have different coping mechanisms and what works for one individual may or may not work for another. The same goes for humor. I personally am able to find humor in most situations, but I am also a person who uses sarcasm as a form of coping as well.

Humor is a very personal thing but can be a very effective tool in managing and processing stressful or frightening situations. Find something to laugh about today, a meme, a joke book (omg my kids love these), a sitcom, a Netflix special, funny animal videos… whatever it is, give yourself a laugh! My kids play this game in the car where they make funny faces at each other to see who will laugh first, it’s ridiculous to watch but their laughter is pure.

I have posted links below to several articles that explain the psychology behind humor and why it is an integral part of human nature. Feel free to share your go to for humorous reprieve.

https://www.verywellmind.com/maintain-a-sense-of-humor-3144888

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456

https://psychcentral.com/lib/humor-as-weapon-shield-and-psychological-salve/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/arts-and-health/200806/humor-the-human-gift-coping-and-survival

https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/awfully-funny

Covid 19 Resources

When facing times of uncertainty let us remain certain of one thing… we do not face these times alone. We can find comfort and solace in knowing that we are here to love and support each other through times of fear and uncertainty. #StrongerTogether

Need someone to talk to?

MMH Joy Squad (Utilizes Facebook Messenger)

Crisis Text Line 741741

Domestic violence and volatile family situations

www.JCADA.org

YWCA

Maryland Public Schools Food Services and Anne Arundel County Services

https://www.caringcupboardllc.com/

Anne Arundel County: http://aacpsschools.org/pressr/?p=5653

Howard County: https://news.hcpss.org/news-posts/2020/03/hcpss-to-provide-free-meals-during-school-closures-meal-service-march-17-27-2020/

Prince George’s County: https://www.pgcps.org/Inside-PGCPS/2019-2020/Student-Meals-Available-During-School-Closures/

Carroll County: https://www.carrollk12.org/about/news/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=2770

Harford County: https://www.hcpsmenus.com/

Charles County: https://www.ccboe.com/pr/free-breakfast-lunch-available-for-children-during-closure/

Montgomery County: (announcement today at some time) www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org

Kent County: http://www.kent.k12.md.us/ (top of page)

Caroline County: https://www.carolineschools.org/ccps-blog/ccps-to-provide-meals-throughout-the-school-closure/

Wicomico County: https://www.wcboe.org/home (slideshow at top of page)

Garrett County: https://www.garrettcountyschools.org/news/2020/03/gcps-to-provide-meals-for-students

Dorchester County: info to come http://www.dcps.k12.md.us/news/news-archives/item/407-coronavirus-update

Frederick County: https://www.fcps.org/update

Additional Resources

MD Department of Health (MDH)

Information on COVID-19 background, prevention, guidance for travel, preparedness measures, www.health.maryland.gov/coronavirus

Center for Disease Control (CDC)

Up to date information on background, severity, risk assessment, etc. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html

Guidelines for People at Risk for Serious Illness

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html

Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus COVID-2:

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-03/documents/sars-cov-2-list_03-03-2020.pdfr

***Please refer to our full resource list for more information on food pantries and emergency needs. ***

AAMC Mental Health Hospital

The J. Kent McNew Family Medical Center will be a pivotal point in providing expanded access to mental health care for Maryland residents. Mental health and the care that is needed to address it is severely lacking nationwide. It is often misunderstood and underfunded. AAMC is striving to do their part in changing the narrative of how their patients’ needs are addressed. Just this past month Anne Arundel County declared suicide a public health crisis and urged the health department to take appropriate action to address these critical issues. From the AAHS website “According to the county’s Community Health Needs Assessment, mental health is one of the highest health care priorities.”

The goal of the J. Kent McNew medical center is to provide quality, comprehensive and integrated care in one location for those needing mental health help. Services provided at the new facility will include:

-Inpatient mental health care

-A psychiatric partial hospitalization program

-Intensive outpatient programs

-Residential and outpatient substance use services

-Referral and care coordination to community-based treatment and support services

The new facility is described as a “56,000-square-foot, four-story building designed with both safety and aesthetics in mind for the care of patients and families. The goal being a space that delivered a sense of light, calm and peace.” It truly delivers just that. The colors, the natural light, the art, the décor, and the overall feel of the entire facility is one of tranquility and healing.

The facility has 16 beds. These beds are all in private rooms with en-suite bathrooms providing comfort, and privacy in a safe and well monitored environment. Rooms overlook the courtyard and are flooded with natural light. Even the hallways are bright and open. Soothing artwork and calming colors are found throughout the facility offering a feel of safety, comfort, and reprieve. There are several areas where families can visit with patients as well as several group rooms and a common area. The nurse’s station is currently open to the common area in the hope that it will feel more welcoming and less closed off to those under the care of facility staff.

The courtyard can be utilized by patients with doctor’s approval and staff supervision. It will also be utilized for certain group sessions enabling care to be provided in the fresh air and natural environment. Patients will be in group sessions the majority of the day with social workers, psychiatrists, and therapists. While the inpatient beds are currently only available for adult patients, the intensive day program is approved for adolescents ages 13-17.

To be admitted to the facility patients can be transferred through any Maryland emergency department or through a referring doctor, therapist, or psychiatrist. The facility can currently support 16 adult individuals for in patient care, and 12 adolescents and 22 adults for the day program.

J Kent McNew Family Medical Center is located at 175 Harry S. Truman Pkwy, Annapolis, MD 21401