We are up in the air, but we’re not floating back down as easily as we’d like. Many of us have felt very apprehensive this time around, even though it is not our first rodeo! Working from home is more tedious, the learning from home routine is more intense, and everyone is a little on edge.
No one wants this to continue for any longer than is necessary, but while we’re here, we can lean in and make the best of a bad situation. How is that even possible, you may ask as kids and adults alike are stressed, exhausted, and overwhelmed by the responsibilities asked of them during this lockdown. To help you manage these fraught days, here are ten ways to help you and your family find a calmness and happiness which will see you through these lockdown days.
Get your Mama Moment
Your Mama Moment is that essential time in the day which is just for you. The moment when you step back from the chores, the deadlines, the demands for snacks, and do something which you need to do in order to fill your cup. Self-care has never been more important than now when we’re balancing every plate in the cupboard and someone keeps throwing a mug for us to catch. If we don’t give ourselves the time to pause, reflect, and regroup, we run the risk of burning out. Life in general, asks a lot of us. Life in a pandemic asks for everything and more and more. Find your Mama Moment every single day because you are too important not to.
Create Space (for everyone)
It’s not just parents who need moments of their own. Our children are in the midst of overwhelm they should not be experiencing. Sadly, the pressures on our kids are severe as they battle virtual school schedules, unknowns about exams, isolation from friends and family, and much more besides. They have been exceptional at getting through lockdown after lockdown, but they need space, self-care, and time for them much like the rest of us. It's a good idea to show them how you practice self-care, give them ideas, and help them to find their space.
Kick Guilt Out the Door
Parental guilt is a modern affliction and one we have always needed to kick right out of the front door. If ever there was a time to pat ourselves on the back it’s now. But when the dishes pile up, the laundry still needs to be folded, fish fingers are on the menu again and the kids have been staring at the TV for two hours, we have a habit of giving out to ourselves. We end up feeling guilty about what we should or shouldn’t be doing. But listen up! There is absolutely nothing we “should” be doing during a pandemic, except for minding ourselves. The rules are out the window and life has slowed down. There is no room for guilt these days because there is enough going on in our lives.
With restrictions we’re missing out on meeting with our friends and catching up with our family. Our children are also feeling this lack of connection with isolation. Connecting with our kids does not have to be a long, in depth chat about their likes and dislikes. I’m talking about playing board games, giggling and splashing together at bath time, or collecting shells along the beach. Connection creates trust, builds love and respect, encourages independence and growth, and increases self-esteem. In many ways, its not only our children who need a deeper connection but us too.
Step away from social media, from the news, from the constant doom scrolling. Make yourself unavailable and put your phone away in the evenings. Social media has a way of keeping us locked into a negativity spiral, of catastrophising, comparing our lives and ourselves to others, and feeling a significant lack of self-worth. It’s the negativity draw we can do without. When we disconnect from technology, we open ourselves up to so many great things which can help ease our way through this lockdown.
Laugh and then Laugh Some More
Laughter is the best medicine as they say. In recent months, there has been truly little for us to laugh at, but when we take a pause and bring ourselves directly into our lives with our family, we can find the funny. From the crazy things the kids come out with, to attempting to play charades with a six-year-old, there are plenty of ways to kickstart the giggle! Laughter boosts the immune system, promotes positivity, and increases our confidence. Not only that, but it’s also contagious, so everyone wins!
Get Out in the Fresh Air
Breathing in the fresh air is one of the best things you can do for your family during lockdown. Yes, it’s January and cold. Yes, there is a 5km restriction. And yes, virtual schooling is back on the cards. But even 20 minutes outside everyday will lower stress levels, boost your immunity, and calm your mind. With nature deficit disorder on the rise in children, it’s important we disconnect them from their devices, take them away from Zoom, and get them outside.
And when it’s icy and the chill in the air stops us from stepping outside the front door, we have the chance to get creative. Colour, build Lego, explore the chemistry set Santa left. Being creative slows us down, helps us to think better, and calms are hearts and minds. It’s great for both adults and kids. Make a cuppa, grab a biscuit and the colouring pencils.
Love Down Time
We need more rest and relaxation during lockdowns and restrictions. They are mentally exhausting and draining. Recognise the extra energy we’re all using and enjoy those lazy days, PJ days and no cook days. Watch a movie under a blanket with popcorn. Go for a walk with a hot chocolate on your return. Read a book. Take the time to avoid the rush, the overwhelm and a to do list which may not be possible at all to do.
Forgive Each Other
These are not our usual days and tempers may be a little fraught as we go from one day to the next. It’s important to remember we’re all a little tense. Even the younger children who may not fully understand what is happening, know something unusual is happening. Forgive each other. Start the day afresh any time there’s an upset during the day. And remember, one day at a time.