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How to navigate stress and anxiety while social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic

Leadership coach teams up with Center for Grieving Children to put on webinar for those struggling with grief in isolation.

PORTLAND, Maine — There are a lot of people struggling right now with the outbreak of COVID-19. The situation has caused anxiety, stress and sadness for many Mainers. 

But what about for people who were already grieving because of the loss of a loved one?

The Center for Grieving Children, a place where people come together to find comfort and coping skills, is working hard to continue providing it's vital services.

People like Shannon Moore of Westbrook appreciate that. Moore and her son Carter know the pain of losing a loved one.

Carter was 6 years old when his dad, Matt Briere, died suddenly, leaving Moore devastated and scared about the future.

"If I passed away my son would be an orphan what that means it is so overwhelming," Moore said.

Moore and Carter found comfort at the Center for Grieving Children. Carter did activities with other kids, who also lost a loved one. Shannon found solace in support group meetings.

"The biggest thing about the center is that you'll realize they are always there."

Even when they can't be there physically. 

COVID-19 has forced the center to find creative ways to connect with their community. They are supporting families through phone, email, or Zoom.

Interns are recording story time on YouTube for the little kids and they have begun testing their virtual peer support groups.

They're getting creative.

"What can we do on a daily basis to help navigate the stress we're dealing with and we're all feeling it," Patrick Veroneau, the President of Emery Leadership Group in Portland, said.

Veroneau is a leadership coach and consultant for dozens of businesses and clients and he has been involved with the Center for more than twenty years. Losing both of his parents as a teenager, he knows grief. And he offered to hold a webinar for people struggling in isolation. 

"Social distancing works for our physical health right now that's the only health it works for in every other aspect of our life social distancing only causes more stress," Veroneau said.

Veroneau says people who are experiencing grief or stress need to take care of themselves emotionally. 

He recommends the following steps:

  • Recognize it: Don't push the feelings away.
  • Change your mindset: Find things to be grateful for. 
  • Exercise: Even if it's just a few times a week.
  • Find quiet time: Meditate or focus on breathing.
  • Routine: Follow as much of a routine or schedule as possible.

Veroneau said ultimately we're all in this together.

"Be for others. If we can do that we'll all get through this."

Moore, who who attended the webinar, couldn't agree more.

"It's really important to remain connected and to remember we're not in this alone," Moore said.

Veroneau has created a journal to help people navigate stress. He is also offering other free webinars and podcasts about many of these topics can be found at Emery Leadership Group.

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At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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