Gathered around the table on a Sunday afternoon, eating peach cobbler, I began having a deep conversation with my teenage daughter about how I had planned on writing about attachment styles, with those who have a higher capacity to be kind to others, hold the great secret to life; ultimately, they live a longer, higher quality life: Kindness equals longevity. It was a great conversation.

As our conversation pursued, she told me, “Ya’ know mom, there are probably a lot of people who are struggling right now. People who are used to living life differently; people who might be alone right now.”

Suddenly, we were in the thick of it; we were talking about “It.” I agreed with her, telling her that while I’d only been out of the house twice in three weeks, I was doing okay because I was surrounded by and had the comfort and support of “my people.”

Emotions will run differently for everyone. For some, it might bring an opportunity they’ve only dreamed, a reprieve, allowing them to finally perfect nana’s recipe for gnocchi and binge-watching every missed television series, all, night, long.

Others may struggle to find a balance with working from home, helping children with schoolwork, maintaining adequate nutrition, preparing meals and not getting enough exercise.

They might get too much or not enough sleep; they might be drinking more alcohol than usual.

They might be grieving the loss of the life they were used to living, not coping well with being alone, not having family, friends and/or co-workers in their daily routine.

Shawna Genova, who is a Master of Social Work at GOAL Academy in Pueblo, said, “For adults that are working from home, coming up with a schedule and a routine, with breaks, is helpful.”

She said making a daily schedule has given her structure and allows her to see which tasks need to be completed, daily.

“When I start to feel tired or in a funk, I get up, go outside, go for a short walk or do something that I enjoy, and then I go back to my task.”

For people who have school age children at home, scheduling additional, longer breaks throughout the day will add some cushion, allowing time to help them with schoolwork and meals.

It’s important for people, children included, to stay active during this time. Get outside, even if it’s only for a brief period, in your backyard or on your front porch. “Stay active; it’s good for your mental health—at my house, we go for walks, jump on the trampoline, run races—every day, we get out,” Genova stressed the importance.

While talking to Shawna, she and I agreed, everyone is talking about “It.” One of the things we can try to do is change the way we are thinking. Our mind has the power to control our outcome.

If our state of mind is creating a feeling of loss and fear (I can’t leave my house/What if my children or I get sick/I’m going to run out of food/All my plans have been ruined), we will become consumed by those feelings. If instead, we can shift our state of mind to feelings of appreciation and gratitude (I am safe in my home/I am spending quality time with my family/I will be cautious and follow all guidelines so my family doesn’t get sick/I am thankful for the food I have, and I am going to be conservative with it/I appreciate this time I have; I will reschedule what I can, when I can), we will feel better about the current situation.

Shawna said when it comes to talking with children, stick to the facts, explaining only what is necessary, “There are a lot of people who are sick, so in order for us not to get sick, we have to stay home for a while.”

For those who suffer from mental health issues or who may be in an abusive home, this struggle could prove to be more than overwhelming.

Genova said many counselors are still available, offering online therapy. She said that social distancing doesn’t mean emotional distancing. “We are utilizing counselors and social workers to conduct virtual check-ins with students and families. I simply serve as a reassuring, reliable virtual presence. I try to come up with a safety plan with them, so they have alternative resources and 24-hour support.”

If you or someone you know need resources during this time: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255; Colorado 24-hour crisis hotline for mental health, substance use or emotional help: 1-844-493-8255, or text TALK to 38255; they also provide a chat feature on their website at; and Safe 2 Tell: 1-877-542-7233—this line allows anonymous calls for concerns or threats being placed on you, your friends, your family or your community.

Genova has these five, overall tips for everyone:

1) Have a routine: have a set time to wake up and go to bed

2) Have a couple close friends, family members or co-workers you can speak with each day

3) Exercise is crucial during this time—it helps us to stay active and it also helps with depression and anxiety

4) Listening to music is great!

5) Eat a healthy diet! It’s easy to indulge right now, snacking and eating unhealthily will get us later—try to stick to what matters

When Shawna and I were all done talking about “It,” she said, “It’s critically important to model

behavior that not only supports one another, but that also keep things as normal as possible; we need to be conscious of the safety and wellness of others. One of the main things I try to show others is kindness and compassion.” Knowing Shawna the way I do, kindness and compassion start at the top of her list (more about that later).