COVID-19 Advice - From Dr. Marks

COVID-19 Advice - From Dr. Marks

Many people are in a state of “pandemic stress,” a feeling of unsafety related to COVID-19. Stress levels are increased due to COVID-19 and the adjustments that are made to decrease the spread of the virus. This type of stress impacts both adults and children. There has been quite a bit of attention on how to help children cope with the changes related to COVID, specifically about how to help children adjust to school (remote, in person, or a combination) in the fall. Parents and caregivers are also experiencing a significant amount of stress as they plan for school in the fall for their children and they need support, too.  Findings from a recent national survey indicated that three quarters of parents thought that there was a moderate to significant risk in sending their children to school for in person learning in the fall ( Even so, with the reported concern for risk, parents consider the social emotional needs of their children, the benefit of routine, and need for childcare while working. With so much to take into account and with all options not feeling quite right, it makes sense parents and caregivers would feel overwhelmed! It is helpful to think about what parents and caretakers can do to cope with this difficult situation and how they can reduce some of this stress:


1.      Take care of basic needs such as sleeping, eating well, drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day. With all the focus on the children, it is important to make sure that parents are taken care of, too.

2.      Be assertive. Time to use those assertiveness skills by asking the questions that need answers related to children’s school situation. By using assertive communication skills, there will not be as many unanswered questions and there is less probability of repetitive worrying thoughts.

3.      Talk to friends and support systems about worries and hopes for the upcoming academic year.

4.      Contact the school key decision makers to discuss concerns and questions.

5.      Contact a therapist or mental health professional. Many therapists are seeing clients remotely and the additional support can be helpful when dealing with stressors related to COVID and school.

6.      Spend some time outside and engage in regular exercise in order to decrease stress.

7.      Engage in activities that are enjoyable


Many parents find it challenging to prioritize their own stress reduction as it can take some time out of an already busy routine. It may help to know that the parents’ feelings about the transition to school will set the tone for the children. Parents’ sense of well-being is important for many reasons so it is important as a parent to take care of your mental health as well.


Dr. Audra Marks, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, is the Director of Training and Assistant Director of Health and Human Services for the Village of Hoffman Estates. Dr. Marks earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and Masters from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, as well as her Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University. Dr. Marks has experience working in community mental health and academics. Dr. Marks, along with the clinical supervisory team, are dedicated to providing exceptional training, with an emphasis on multicultural competency, which fosters professional growth and development in a supportive and stimulating environment. Dr. Marks has a strong passion for supervision and is dedicated to training future psychologists. Dr. Marks provides individual supervision to interns, advanced practicum and practicum externs, and particularly enjoys assisting students in their development of self-awareness.  Dr. Marks takes the lead on the organization and functioning of the training program. Clinical interests include trauma, gender and identities, working with clients across the lifespan, and psychodynamic relational feminist theory. Dr. Marks supports students in the development of their preferred theoretical orientation. 


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