Taking Care of Yourself in Uncertain Times
As a community, we are all adjusting to a prolonged period of time at home. Without our typical distractions of sports, activities, and social events, we are given a unique opportunity to connect deeply as families. With all the positives that come with this increased connection, however, there are also challenges for us, as parents, to manage our households, our children's schooling, and our work. Here are a few things we can do to relieve our own stress so we can best support our children through this turbulent time.
Prioritize: The current circumstances are forcing us, as a society, to shift our expectations and prioritize what is truly important. As parents, trying to balance all the roles that we are now holding can be overwhelming. But shifting our priorities with our children can be empowering. For example, what is most important now is your family’s health, both physically and emotionally. If an academic topic is taking your child a little longer to master under the current circumstances, that is to be expected. Instead of feeling the pressure to perfectly match their past academic experiences, focus on how they are adjusting to their new reality (and, in the process, developing resilience and adaptability). This shift in priorities will help everyone to understand that though, right now, we may not be able to execute all roles as well as we may have in the past, simply taking steps in a positive direction is more than enough.
Do something each day for you: The time we adults have to dedicate to ourselves is more limited than before. Being pulled in so many directions, however, requires that we take steps everyday to keep our sense of calm among the chaos. Taking care of yourself can look like taking a walk, doing some yoga, meditating for five minutes, or going to sleep earlier than usual. Whatever you need to do to carve out some time each day to do something you will enjoy will do wonders for not only your mental health, but that of your whole family.
Create a schedule: This concept has been discussed extensively of late, but its importance can not be understated. Developing a daily schedule is not only useful for children; it allows us all to understand what our day will look like and helps incorporate order into this unique situation. This order allows us to get things accomplished throughout the day, and also plays the important role of helping us self-monitor and manage our own expectations.
Consider use of time: Due to increased demands on your time, working in the evening or early in the morning can now be essential than ever. However, once the most urgent “off-hour” tasks are complete, move on to something you enjoy. Maybe you get into the kitchen as a family, maybe you start a new puzzle or game. Whatever the task, make sure it is something that brings purpose and joy to you and your family. These small breaks in time will really benefit us as we continue to look at long stretches of time at home.