It's not surprising that many families are feeling the pinch as they try to juggle lockdown, and many have been thrust into this situation numerous times.
There seems to be much to juggle and patience and tolerance levels can become stretched quite quickly.
As families and educators struggle and juggle through lock-downs, these Positive Living Skills mental health tips might help:
1. Accept that however you feel is OK
There is no such thing as a 'bad' emotion. All emotions are valid and we are human beings all doing the best we can. See if you can identify how you feel (frustrated, resentful, angry, disappointed, hurt) then acknowledge that you are allowed to feel however you feel, then you might be able to apply some strategies to move through that feeling to something that feels more like relief.
2. Acknowledge yourself - you are doing the best you can
So many parents are trying to do the full job they used to do in the workplace, plus taking on the role of teacher, and then of course also being a mum or dad or carer. You won't possibly be able to perform all those roles as well as you could before lock down. Give yourself a bit of a break and accept that you are human.
3. Limit your news consumption
Set yourself a limit of say 30 or 60 minutes of news a day - get up to date with what you need to know, then turn it off and focus on what is within your control.
4. Limit your Binging time
If you do have the opportunity to drop out on the couch, immerse yourself in some indulgent shows that you love to consume, then change your emotional channel by playing some music, or watching a David Attenborough doco so you can be inspired by the wonder of our natural world from your lounge room. Mix it up so you are experiencing something completely different.
5. Get some fresh air - every hour or so if possible
If you can get outside, do so every day, and if possible, every hour. If all members of the family can take a 5-10 minute break to breathe fresh air, and even better, to look up at the sky, it will help you all to change your emotional state or feel most positive. Fitbits are great for reminding us at 10 to the hour to MOVE!
6. Get some exercise every day
Any exercise will help you process your stress hormone cortisol - the more brisk the walk the better, and if yoga is appealing it can really help to boost the flexibility of body and mind. We recommend Yoga with Adriene's youtube channel for an almost never-ending number of yoga options to suit all levels.
6. Structure is your friend
Having a routine can be very helpful for the whole family, especially in this time of overwhelming uncertainty. Even though it's good to stay flexible, knowing that you have a dependable routine can be very comforting for all members of the family and if everyone knows what's coming next arguments can be minimised.
7. Make time to really 'Connect'
Yes you might be in the same house together and you might all have different priorities and you might be sick of looking at each other sometimes too. If you can, make some time each day to really connect. Put devices down and have a meal together, or take some time to look through some old photos together and reminisce or play a board game or cards - maybe this could count toward remote learning outcomes?
8. Find something fun in every day
Take away Tuesday, or Music Monday, or Home Theatre Thursday? - seeing what you can find or create to add a bit of planned fun to each day could give everyone something to look forward to.
9. Model feeling calm
It's so important to find ways to keep yourself as calm as possible. Quick breathing techniques can really help you and all the family members connect to calm in the present moment. At PLS we have a 'Be Here' breathing technique, where you can focus on your breathing.
As you breathe in slowly, listen to the sound of the air entering your body – and feel the cool air going into your body. As you breathe out feel the warm air leaving your body as it relaxes.
As you breathe in imagine that the air is filling your body with calm thoughts and feelings.
As you breathe out, feel your whole body relax.
Continue to breathe in and out slowly and as you breathe in slowly say to yourself (in your mind without speaking out loud) ‘BE’ and then as you breathe out slowly say to yourself ‘HERE’. Do it again. Breathe in ..Beeeeee. Breathe out ..Heeeeeere. Repeat Be Here in a slow way 5 times.
10. There's another day tomorrow
It can feel very disheartening when you get to the end of the day and things just have not gone to plan, or worse they feel like a disaster! One thing we can be certain of is that the sun will rise tomorrow and we will get the opportunity to have another go.
Get a good night's sleep and remember tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity.
For all the parents out there juggling remote learning, we saw this recently posted by educator, mum and blogger Little Jemmings, and thought we'd share here as it echoes sentiments we're hearing from educators:
"We’re sorry. Teaching was never meant to be like this. And learning was absolutely NEVER meant to be like this.
We get it. The angst, the overwhelm, the stress and the worry. This is not how it’s supposed to be.
Trust us, we feel it too.
We would much rather have your little one’s face brightening up our classroom instead of catching glitching glimpses on gridded zoom pages. Handing out photocopied book packs is so far from our passionate pedagogy, it’s almost painful to collate. And, it breaks our heart every time we think about our students trying to get through screened lessons that were actually destined to be presented with enthusiasm by a teacher who loves what they do.
But please know, it won’t be forever. And we’ve got you.
We know you are struggling just as much as we are. Wishing your kids could be with their mates, being supported by their teacher, living their comfortable, familiar life. Wanting so badly to be able to keep them moving along but knowing your arms don’t stretch that far and your boss will only forgive so many dropped balls. We know a household is not the optimum place for learning, especially one with multiple locked down, cabin fevered kids. And we sure as hell know that teaching as a vocation is NOT what you signed up for.
You are a mother or a father, the kisser of sores, the embedder of morals, the listener of all the hour long stories. You are the baker of their favourite cookies, the snuggler they wait for at bedtime, the host of the best table in town. You are the bike ride companion, the morale booster, the shoe lace tier. You are their loudest cheerleader, their favourite person, their first teacher.
You are their mum and dad.
So, as their parents, your only job is to support, share, snuggle and survive. Do what you can, until you can’t do it anymore and then stop. Then have another crack tomorrow.
Us teachers, we get it.
We’ll fill the gaps, we’ll course correct, we’ll make up for the missed. We’ll do the rest.
We’ve got you x"
Until next time,
The PLS Team