Living with the pandemic has been a strange new experience for all of us and families are continuing to learn and adapt every day. The combined challenges of working from home, home-schooling and then readjusting to in-class learning and up-close social interactions has been especially tough for children and parents alike.
Be sure to take the time to take care of yourself. We have put together a few tips for dealing with both the isolation of staying home and the culture shock of going back.
Part 1: Staying Home
Have Designated Work and Study Spaces
With one spot in the home for you to work and another for the kids to study you can both be more focused and productive. Make sure they are areas without too many distractions and set rules for disturbing each other. Establishing these boundaries up front eliminates uncertainty so everyone can relax and be more productive. Our earlier blog offers great suggestions to create your space. Link
Establish a Routine
Try to wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day and stick to regular school and work schedules.
Following a regular schedule may sound boring, but it’s easy to get distracted at home and a little order and organization helps everyone stay on track and avoid procrastination.
Plus there are many health benefits of having a routine, including less stress and better eating habits. Make sure the schedule includes regular breaks. Everyone is happier and more productive if they break up the work day with a little R&R.
Encourage Physical Activity and Outdoor Time
Try going for a bike ride, take a walk in the park or around the block. You can even put on some music and have a dance party with the kids. Any physical activity will release those happy chemicals in the brain that help improve a person’s mental health.
Even in the winter, you’ll be amazed how much a little time in the sunshine and fresh air will help you de-stress and recharge your batteries. Here’s a list of fun indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy with kids.
Try A Hobby or Skill
Having a variety of activities that you enjoy is an important part of relaxation. Skills and hobbies like playing music, cooking, reading, or studying a new language keep your mind sharp and help you focus on yourself and reduce the time spent staring at a screen. Everyday Girl has a wonderful list of hobbies to try while at home, by yourself or as a family.
Limit Screen Time and Exposure To News
When feeling stressed it can be natural to turn to the news to stay informed and try to get back a sense of control. Unfortunately, too much of this can have the exact opposite effect, so it’s important to take a step back from the constant news cycle and the endless scrolling of social media and focus on yourself and your family. When you do go online, make sure you’re relying on credible news sources.
Part 2: Heading Back
Practice Talking To One Another
Make sure your kids know they have someone to talk to, whether it’s you, a family member, a friend or school counsellor. Just having a person to share thoughts and concerns with, whether in person, on the phone or on Zoom, can make all the difference.
Don’t Give Up Those Healthy Habits
If you’ve established healthy habits and routines while staying home, keep it going! Avoid the temptation of falling back into old negative routines. Keeping regular sleep schedules, exercise and healthy eating is more important than ever.
Keep It Positive
There is still a lot of uncertainty and conflicting reports out there and dwelling on this aspect is never healthy. Try engaging in stress relieving activities with your family, like mindful breathing and regular exercise. Practice reframing negative thoughts with a more positive outlook.
And most importantly, always consciously practice kindness and compassion for you, your family and everyone you deal with. You’ll be amazed how much this positive energy improves your mood and mental health.
Everyone is Different
It’s important to remember that everyone is different and we all react to stressful situations in our own unique way. Everyone has different comfort levels, and it’s important to respect that. It’s also okay if some people need to reach out and talk more regularly than others. Make sure you are there for them if they do.