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Dealing with the extra stress of corona: resilience helps

Here in the Netherlands, we still have a long way to go to stop the spread of corona. This requires a lot of stamina from all of us. How are you and your children holding up? How can we adapt for a longer period of time when life has already been turned upside down? An important factor is to increase your resilience.
When your child got cancer, the ground beneath your feet sank. Nothing was certain, nothing was ‘normal’ anymore. With the help of those around you, you tried to find a way. But the corona crisis puts an extra strain on your ability to recover. How do you find support from your loved ones, if you can't meet them in person? What does it mean for your child if no brothers, sisters or friends are allowed to visit? Or if they can't see their grandparents?

Stay in control
You know better than anyone how important it is to be in control. So, as much as possible, you and your family can decide how to deal with the situation. The corona measures are now becoming more flexible, little by little, in society as well as in the Máxima. Still, it is difficult to maintain the feeling of being in control. What can help is to pay extra attention to your resilience. Resilience is not something you 'have' or 'don't have'. It is an adjustment process that starts 'automatically' when something stressful happens.

Maintaining fitness
In life, you have probably already experienced that you keep 'bouncing back', even when it sometimes gets very difficult. Nevertheless, it may be wise to pay extra attention to resilience now. First of all, by improving your physical and psychological ‘fitness’. This starts with sufficient exercise, for example, by taking a walk, or taking extra care of the garden or the house. If possible, do this together with your children, because they will also benefit from it.

Accepting the situation
Good physical fitness supports your 'psychological fitness'. You can improve it even further by reflecting on the current situation from time to time, and consciously try to ‘accept’ that things are the way they are now. In fact, this may be just like when your child became ill. Events may not be changeable, but how you deal with them is.

Looking forward together
It also helps to look ahead to the things that will soon be possible again. Think of a barbecue in the summer, or a game with grandma and grandpa in a couple of weeks. Looking ahead to 'simple' things can be refreshing. Treat yourself to a drink outside, to distract yourself. Or literally write down the things which are constantly bouncing around in your head. And let others know what's bothering you. Not to spread doom and gloom about the current situation, but to think together about what's still possible.

More information
Right now, it might seem like nothing is 'allowed' anymore. But in reality - in consultation - a lot can be done. So, keep discussing your wishes and expectations. For example, with your medical-social worker or your child's Childlife Specialist. Do you have questions about resilience, or do you need extra support for you or your child? Tell the attending physician or the other care members at Máxima. They can put you in contact with someone from the psychosocial team or, for example, the life counsellor.

More information from VOKK
How do you keep control during and after the treatment of your child? The VOKK conducted research into how parents are and remain in control and shared the results at the beginning of this year during a workshop for all employees of the Máxima, WKZ, UMCU and the shared care centers. A list of practical tips from parents for parents resulted from a survey conducted by the VOKK among parents. Are you curious about the tips of other parents? Please contact the VOKK at 030-2422944 or bureau@vokk.nl