With kids stuck at home and a return to normalcy feeling far off, parents everywhere are stretching themselves thin trying to keep their little ones active, engaged, and happy. Times are tough, so Sesame Street has made a PSA to remind hardworking parents to "take a moment for yourself, to breath, stretch, whatever you need to keep being your best self."
The PSA features Elmo's dad Louie stepping away from a very needy Elmo begging to build a pillow fort. "It is wonderful to be able to spend so much time with our children, but it can also be a bit overwhelming," Louie says. "So I just wanted to say, parents, you’re doing an amazing job. Remember though, it’s important to take some time for yourself. Take care of you. Listen to your favorite song, stretch, or just take a moment to breathe." He goes on to do a very short breathing exercise, leading viewers into a deep breath that I think we could all use right about now.
The important PSA to parents is part of the new Sesame Workshop Caring for Each Other initiative that aims to provide content that can "help families stay physically and mentally healthy as the coronavirus pandemic continues." Along with endless resources for parents to support children — such as PSAs on proper hand-washing for kids and more than 100 free e-books for families to read together — the Caring for Each Other resource page offers support to parents themselves, including a helpful PDF on self-care during difficult times.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that the outbreak of COVID-19 may lead to increased stress levels in the general public. Parenting, on its best day, is a stressful thing. Add to that days spent inside, loss of social contact, and health concerns and you're bound to be a bit on edge. Much like Louie, the CDC recommends that people feelings stressed or anxious take some time to care for themselves. Deep breathing, stress, and time spent unwinding doing activities that you enjoy are a great way to manage those feelings.
The current outbreak has been described by The Washington Post as a "nationwide psychological trauma," a point that cannot be understated. And a recent survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that almost half of all Americans feel that the coronavirus crisis is having a negative impact on their mental health.
As parents are working to be there for their children on a day-to-day basis, it's important to keep in mind that your mental health matters, too. Check in with yourself, take a breath, and follow Louie's advice. You can't pour from an empty cup, friends.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here, and Bustle’s constantly updated, general “what to know about coronavirus” here.