By TMoM Team Member Dennette Bailey

I did not see this quarantine playing out like this. Even though I was preparing, I was expecting to have too much food and too much toilet paper and too many masks. I was not expecting that I would actually be running out of supplies. I was not expecting that I would be unable to work or my child, who already does not have a lot of access to other teens her age, would be in the house with no interaction with other teens her age for many weeks. I was not expecting my family to feel the effects of little interaction with other people, even though previously we thought we enjoyed being loners.

By chance, a relative of mine suggested a family game night through the Zoom App and I must tell you it has been a saving grace. It has allowed us to feel a connection and be aware of connections to others that I don’t think we paid attention to in the past. Moreover, I don’t think we realized just how much interaction with other people not only affected us but is very much needed for our mental health.

Even if you don’t think the quarantine is not affecting you negatively…even if you think you or your children are adjusting fine- consider investing in methods that allow you, and especially your children, to interact with people..make an effort to talk and laugh with other people outside of the quarantine premises you call home. Of course you will want to utilize the platform that you feel safe using, but please consider utilizing a digital platform because it will give your family access to others outside of your household. As human beings we are designed to have relationship and interaction with other human beings. It is important for our mental health and very important for the mental health of children and teens. Do not assume you or the people in your home are OK. For myself, I did not realize I was overeating. I had developed a routine of eating at night which was not part of my routine prior to the world change. However, after a Zoom family night I suddenly realized I was not hungry at a time I had been regularly night eating. My body literally didn’t need food after all that human interaction.

If we are over eating or not eating at all, grumpy or constantly sad, fatigued but not feeling sick, we should consider purposely connecting with others and use a medium that allows us to see the person’s face and facial expressions.

Some mediums to consider include Zoom, the Marco Polo app, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Skype, Discord and UberConference.  In all I have had to remember that keeping the mental health of myself and my family doesn’t just include praying and preparing- it also includes playing and seeing the faces of playmates outside of our household.

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