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6 Ways to Increase Your Patience with Distance Learning

By: Andra Bonior Ph.D.

Six months into the pandemic’s ripple effects across the United States, many families have children at home who have not seen the inside of a school since this all began. To say I am seeing and hearing (and feeling!) exhaustion is an understatement. Juggling multiple roles without a break can be exhausting enough to cause a significant sense of hopelessness, pessimism, and irritability. Here are six tips to keep in mind when navigating this truly unprecedented stressor as a parent. And remember, like any other difficult time in life, it’s important to let yourself start fresh each morning—and go just one day at a time.

1. Remember that this doesn’t have to replicate the in-person school experience.

Yes, your middle-schooler doesn’t get the Bunsen burner this year, and your third-grader’s math lessons may lose a little vigor. But might they also be learning a little more about managing disappointment? Navigating sibling conflict? Helping their community? Cutting their dad’s hair? They may be discovering new things and growing in ways that they never would have had this not happened. And as much as that doesn’t mean that you have to be glad that we are in this situation, it is important to recognize that the deeper life lessons or opportunity for boosts in emotional intelligence that can arise even in the struggle.

2. Reach out for support.

There are millions of parents in your same boat—including plenty juggling the same confusing emails from your very same school, or the same Chromebook glitches hitting your second-grader. Have you thought about how to better build your “village” lately? Who do you rely on for support when it feels like too much? What other parents can you vent or laugh with when you are overwhelmed? Social support can provide a big boost to our mental and physical health and is a very important component of coping. But with the specific demands that are exhausting parents who are juggling multiple roles everywhere, it can be even more of a balm to talk to someone going through what you are.

3. Keep your values in mind.

When you feel overwhelmed by the homework or the technology or your constant juggling act, try to zoom out to the big picture. What is the purpose of any of this? What kind of values do you want to impart to your child? What do you want them to see in you during this time, and what kind of parent do you want to be? How do you want to look back at this time someday? Any given day—or even week—may feel like it’s going all wrong. But when you can keep your eye on a sense of larger purpose about your parenting during this time, when your kids are looking toward you to guide them through uncertainty, it can help you remember what’s important, and not get bogged down by what’s not.

4. Empathy, empathy, empathy.

When we all are feeling frazzled and burnt out, empathy is hard to extend to others—because our own tanks are so empty. But empathy can improve your patience in crucial ways when you’re dealing with the frustrations of online learning. Empathy for the teacher who might be managing her own chaos at home, empathy for your child missing their friends and having to stare at a screen for far longer than you ever would have wanted them to, and empathy for the administrators having to make decisions they could have never anticipated—it’s all justified, and important.

5. Find humor when you can.

I have worked with many people who feel guilty for having moments of levity when their friends are struggling, or who are concerned about wrongly making light of a time that for many people involves life-or-death risk calculations. But humor can be very significant in terms of emotional well-being, and it even can decrease your blood pressure and break tension to help your whole body feel better. When’s the last time you had a deep, belly laugh? And what could you do to get that again? Better yet, finding things that you and your kids can laugh about together, whether it be a TV show you share, a joke-a-day ritual, or letting loose with silly dance moves, can help increase your connection with them as well.

6. Let go of perfectionism.

Adjusting expectations is crucial not only for your perspective on your kid’s schooling but it’s vital for your own role as a parent too. I am working with so many clients who feel like “failures” because they aren’t as patient as they’d like to be with their kids, or they’re not making the perfect healthy meals that they’re seeing on social media, or they’re not having feeling especially bonded with their kids despite all the increased time spent together.

Notice the yardstick you are using to compare yourself to others. And if it is perfectionistic, ask yourself how you can start giving yourself credit just for coping and surviving—the most productive activities of all—during what may be the most challenging episode of your parenting career.

“We can’t hate ourselves into a version of ourselves we can love.” – LORI DESCHENE Cheat Sheet for Affirmations



When you think about who you are, what do you say? Is it harder to come up with positive things about yourself than things you wish were different about you?

If you tend to focus on the stuff you wish were different such as “I wish I was skinnier” or “I wish I had more money” etc., you are not alone.

We are conditioned to think about the things that we want to be different more than we do positive things about ourselves. Part of our conditioning is evolutionary. We need to be our best self to survive and to reproduce. The other part of conditioning is societal.

Social media, friends, family, school, work all impact the way that we believe we need to look, act, behave, and what success looks like. We are constantly striving for better.

While wanting to continue to grow and become more successful is awesome, it can be easy to forget about celebrating ourselves for who we are.

When was the last time you told yourself you looked good in the mirror or you are proud of the person you are?

Chances are is has been too long. When we are constantly telling ourselves we need to be better and do better, we end up thinking we aren’t good enough.

One of the most common reasons for people going into therapy is for that exact reason. We want to feel good about ourselves but feel selfish doing so. When my clients come to me for therapy nine times out of ten there is something that keeps them from feeling confident in who they are.

One of the ways I help my clients out of this is by using positive affirmations.

Positive affirmations is about changing the way we talk to ourselves. Instead of saying, “I wish I was skinnier”, we say “I am beautiful for who I am, and my identity is not just my weight”.

Speaking positively does not change a goal you have for yourself; it just celebrates who you are while you are striving for your goals.



Signs of a Mental Health Crisis

A mental health crisis can display in a variety of ways. There is no one indicator that a person is experiencing a mental health emergency, but here some signs to look for. The person may be:

  • Unable to complete daily tasks like getting dressed, brushing teeth, bathing, etc.
  • Verbally saying, writing or insinuating that they’d like to kill themselves and/or talking about death
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and their typical social situations
  • Showing impulsive or reckless behavior, being aggressive
  • Having dramatic shifts in mood, sleeping or eating patterns

When you suspect a crisis, you’ll need to decide who calls to help. If the person is an immediate danger to themselves or someone else, do not hesitate to call 911 and let them know you are with someone experiencing a mental health crisis. If the person is not in immediate danger you can reach out to the individual’s therapist, doctor or psychiatrist if they have one. They will be able to provide advice and help with crisis services. You can also go to the local mental health center or emergency room to receive an assessment.

If you would like more information on how we can help you or someone you love who may be experiencing a crisis, please do not hesitate to call

Cape Coral Therapist. Call us: (239) 565-6921

How The Love Of Music Improves Your Mental Health?


It has been generally accepted that both listening to and creating music can have various positive effects on mood and mental health. Incorporating music into your everyday life can help to:

  • elevate your mood and motivation
  • aid relaxation
  • increase the efficiency of your brain processing.

Ways to use music for mental health

So, we have learned that music is more than just a form of entertainment and that there are lots of links between music and mental health. But how exactly can you use it in your day-to-day life? Check out some of the ways here:

  • Focus. Classical music is a winner at helping you focus. Music that has a tempo of 60 bpm (beats per minute) increases the efficiency of the brain in processing information. The best way to use it is to have it playing softly in the background as you get on with your tasks.
  • Expression. The next time you’re finding it hard to talk about or express your emotions, try turning to music for help. Creating your own music whether simply strumming a guitar or composing lyrics to a song can help you express and process your emotions. It’s more about how it makes you feel, than how it sounds. Remember that no one ever has to hear your music if you don’t want them to.
  • Social connection. Music can stop you from feeling lonely or isolated. Whether it’s sharing playlists with your friends or meeting new, like-minded people at your favorite band’s next gig, music connects people.
  • Creativity. Did you know that listening to or making music allows your brain to think creatively? So, whether it’s a creative project you need to complete or some new ways to improve your mood, try some different types of music and see what works best for you.
  • Relaxation. Okay, so this isn’t a huge scientific breakthrough, but it’s worth repeating: music helps you to relax. If you choose the right kind of music, change into some comfy clothes and put your feet up, it’s a safe bet that you’ll feel relaxed in no time.
  • Motivation. You need to vacuum the house/study/get some exercise, but you just can’t get off the couch? Use your favorite music as a motivational force. Crank up the volume on a killer tune and chances are you’ll find it that much easier to get started.

If you would like to reach out to someone, to help you work through mental health challenges please contact, or call (239) 565-6921