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  • Jane McKinney

Finding new ways to connect and learn in April

Greetings from A Balanced Life LLC! As April gets underway with continued sequestering at home, we are finding new ways to connect, learn, and be present with loved ones. Adjustment to social distancing, cancelled events, schooling and working from home have provided mixed experiences. No two families are alike. Years ago, as a graduate student in social work, I read a lot of what Bruce Perry, M.D., Ph.D., had to say about childhood trauma. One thing that stuck with me—and seems relevant now as we sequester at home with our immediate family— is his reflection that family represents the smallest biological unit of humankind. This reality underscores the importance of our attachment system as a function of our neurobiology. For some, being at home has reduced the felt sense of stress; and, for others, being asked to stay put has activated the stress response system. Whichever camp you find yourself a part of now, please know it will change in time. The key is to learn how to manage stress and anxiety. Here is my short list for anxiety management:

  1. Learn about itHappify provides animated videos on YouTube that help to explain anxiety with a focus on mindfulness and meditation as the best management tools. The video "Why Mindfulness Is A Superpower: An Animation" does a good job explaining the stress response. Also, Dr. Russ Harris, trainer of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), provides YouTube videos about anxiety and ACT. This one provides a metaphor for understanding what happens with anxiety: "The Struggle Switch."

  2. Identify and name your worries. Make a worry jar. Write your worry on a slip of paper and put it in the jar/container. Take it out when it is time to think about it and work on it. 

  3. Know your signs and symptoms. Identify your body’s cues for excessive worry. Do you have racing thoughts? Do you sweat? Does your heart pound? Is it hard for you to fall asleep? These are just some of the body’s signs that your worry may feel out of control.

  4. Now get busy with your resources. Make a forgiveness and gratitude list in your mind each night. Learn to meditate. Reach out to supportive people. Practice controlled breathing.

  5. Gain skills that help you manage worries, such as thought stopping, probability rating, balanced decision-making, and relaxation skills (to name a few). This infographic created in collaboration with Mental Health America, available through Anxiety and Depression Association of America, may be a helpful reminder for you: "How To Deal With Stress And Anxiety."

Please find additional resources below, as well as information about an upcoming PMAD support group facilitator training on Monday, April 27.

Take good care,




Here are some more helpful resources while you are staying home:

Educational Resources:

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources:

Resources from the WHO Global Clinical Practice Network on managing mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Updated information from the World Health Organization about COVID-19:

Other sources to access COVID-19 information:


UPCOMING TRAINING: PMAD Support Group Facilitator Training

PMAD Support Group Facilitator Training

Date: Monday, April 27, 2020

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Fees: $50.00 

Facilitator: Jane McKinney, LCSW, LSCSW, RPT-S

Learn to provide a psycho-educational support group for people who may be struggling during and after pregnancy. This support group us unique in that it includes expressive arts activities that help participants make sense of their experience. Anyone who has a passion for helping is encouraged to attend. You do not have to be a counselor to be an effective support group facilitator.

This training will be held online via Zoom. After you have enrolled and paid, you will be sent the meeting link and the training materials. Bring your own sack lunch to the training. We will take several stretch breaks during the training.

There are two options to pay for the training:

1. Go to and donate $50.00. Write a note saying, “PMAD Support Group Facilitator Training on 4/27/20.” 

2. Or send a check payable to PPRC to:


P.O. Box 2213

Mission, KS 66201

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