06-29-2021 04:59 PM - edited 06-30-2021 11:55 AM
Hello parents and carers:
It's safe to say that 2021 isn't exactly a smooth ride so far. Dealing with the uncertainty of new covid outbreaks, as well as the many logistical spanners in the works, can be super stressful for everyone involved.
Speaking as a parent of two kids myself, I will be very honest and say that spending winter holidays in lockdown wasn't quite what we had in mind, to recharge halfway through the year!
There's been a lot of coverage in the media lately about mental health, young people, and the impact of covid on all of those things - but we also know that parents have a huge role to play here, both in helping their young people to build their toolkit of coping skills, and also in terms of looking after YOU. In my family, I always notice that things tend to get a bit rocky when I'm really stressed. So for me, I have to look after myself, even when that feels like just another item on an overflowing to do list.
So with that in mind, we wanted to share 5 tips for parents who are navigating these uncertain times.
1. Put on your own oxygen mask first - whatever that looks like for you.
I have had to make self care a HUGE priority this lockdown- to be really honest, one of my biggest worries has been burning out myself. Between working from home (again!), school holiday plans suddenly being cancelled, and suddenly having a tween and young kid at home, my candle was burning at both ends.
For me, self care looks like going for long walks while I listen to podcasts, going to bed early when I'm exhausted, mindfulness meditation, and connecting with friends when I need to vent/cry/laugh.
2. Go with the flow- and take things one day at a time
This one has been a game changer for me- I'm usually a planner in our family. But right now, we are taking life one day at a time. I'm saying yes to more random things, letting my kids take the lead when possible in what they want to do, and trying to stay focused on the present.
3. Explore your local area, and find a new routine
We hear from young people that it's often the loss of the mundane things that start to really add to that sense that life is just dragging on - without the rhythm of normal activities, a week can suddenly feel like a long time.
We've found that building new routines into our lockdown life has been really helpful - for example, my daughter and I often go for a walk before I start work, and pick up a takeaway coffee together. It means she gets outside, and we get to chat about silly stuff.
Exercise can be another great way to have some routine in your life- plus it boosts those endorphins, gives you a legitimate reason to leave the house, and is proven to help with mild depression/anxiety. All good things!
We have a great article about how to help your family stick to a routine during covid here
4. Embrace a doona day when you need it
The flip side of this - is that sometimes, it is totally OK for everyone to do absolutely nothing, if that's what is needed. Rest is important, especially when we've been under sustained stress.
In my family, this looks like a lazy dinner/ takeaway, and reading/ watching movies/ lazing around doing nothing
5. Connect with other people - in whatever way works for you.
We aren't meant to parent alone - it's a cliche now, but there's a lot to be said for having a village. That can mean calling trusted friends, or coming to an online community like this one, or going for a socially distanced walk with a neighbour.
For me- that sometimes is as simple as sharing a meme with a friend over WhatsApp, or having a quick chat with my mum over zoom as i cook dinner.
And if you're struggling - don't hesitate to use professional help. There's a lot of different options out there, and you can check out some of those here , or click here for urgent help if you feel like you or your young person need it.
6. Check out ReachOut Parents page here!
If you're someone who likes to read/ watch videos/ hear from experts, we have a lot of different resources that you can check out- everything from articles, to practical tools to help you and your young person through these uncertain times.
It's also worth saying that there is no one size fits all solution, and we would love to hear from parents and carers here too: what's been working for you?
Did you learn any lessons from previous lockdowns, that are helping you out now?
It would be great to hear you all, that way this can also be a bit of a resource for other parents.
Sending virtual strength and solidarity all!
06-29-2021 06:35 PM
06-30-2021 11:54 AM
Thanks so much for your kind words @ToriH , and welcome to our community.
I'm loving your tips- my mum always wrote things down, and I use both an app to track my to-do list, and also write things on a notebook. Love the satisfaction of crossing off something - even if it's just "fed my children"
The music comment really resonated with me as well - I've been listening to a lot of music lately, both while I'm walking, and as background while I'm working (I can't concentrate in dead silence, and am now back to sharing a home office with a spouse) - I've been loving the Hamilton Mixtape, rediscovering music I loved from the 2000s, and have curated a classical music playlist for deep concentration. I've always been a music lover, and I've found it super helpful when things are tough.
I also love live music/ theatre, so listening to talented people perform reminds me that there are brighter times ahead
I'm also just going to tag in some of our members who've been active lately - would love to hear how you're going, and what's been working for you in these strange times
Sending all of our best wishes to you all - lockdown can be just another thing to add to a stressful situation, if your young person's already having a rough time. This is a safe space to vent, or share, any time.
07-01-2021 10:01 AM
07-01-2021 02:48 PM
Hello @Collyflower89 , it sucks to hear that your daughter struggled with the first lockdown. It must have been hard for you to support them during that tough time. It is great that you were able to spend some time doing some activities and that you found this to be helpful. Sounds like you were concerned about your daughter during these times, it is good that she had you looking our for her and supporting her along the way .
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