You are grounded.
For 3 weeks.
And no manual has been written about how to cope with such a gear change as a family. What to expect when we dial down the pace of our lives from 100mph to complete standstill. But a couple of days in – you have probably experienced for yourself – that it takes a while for the body and mind to land in this new mode of life.
The anxiety of not being able to predict and plan ahead is hard enough. Adding to that the fear of anything happening to your loved ones, the sadness at not being able to be near your friends and family and the disappointment of what won’t be … that is enough to send anyone into a state of panic.
And on top of that we are all having to be intensely together with our children and partner. Whilst holding down a job, providing entertainment, home schooling and maintaining our house and body and friendships.
It’s a lot! And if you’re finding it hard sometimes – it’s because it is!!!
Since having to ground ourselves 5 days before everyone else – I have come to see that are some things that helps me and my family getting through this. And I think these three practices will make a positive difference for you and your family too:
Tip #1 : structure your day
It’s so easy to bum around all day in your pj’s when you’re not having to go to the office. But don’t do it!
Create a good morning routine that sees everyone getting dressed, making your bed, having breakfast together and running through the rough agenda of the day.
Are you supposed to work during this time?
Then decide HOW MUCH – and WHEN.
Chaos and stress if often a result of us not having the necessary conversations as a family.
Therefore, work out what structure suits your family best:
Half and half: You take the kids in the morning – and your husband in the afternoon – with a coming together for lunch?
One day off one day on?
Work and homeschooling at the same time?: Are your kids of an age where they can study on their own while you work?
What needs to be done – and what can wait? Get as clear as possible so you get the opportunity to cross the finish line.
Tip #2: Ask for what you need
Being so intensely together with our loved ones for a prolonged period of time is bound to have us break out in a rash every once in a while – unless we get comfortable with asking for what we need.
We might not be able to have our needs met in our ideal ways – but with a little creativity and willingness to see possibilities – it is possible to take a break from each other. To go for a walk in solitude. To take a nap, have a bath, listen to an audiobook, ring a friend, go to the supermarket alone, read a magazine or whatever fills your cup.
When we model this behaviour, we make it possible for our children to do the same for themselves. It can feel difficult for siblings who play a lot together – to know how to withdraw.
What often ends up happening is they carry on playing, teasing and hurting each other – unable to ask for a break from the other.
It can be a big help to see some sibling conflicts in this light – and help them to take some time apart until they’ve filled their own cups again.
Tip # 3: Take care of your body and mind
We are all navigating new territory. No one has the answers and no one knows how long we are going to be living this way. But one thing is for sure, the likelihood of us coming out the other end of this stronger and is so much greater if we don’t abandon our body and mind along the way.
Exercising might not have felt so difficult when the kids were away anyway – but with everyone at home we are now having to actively put ourselves on the list of priorities – not for IF there is enough time in the day – but as a matter of utmost importance.
If meditation was your thing before COVID19 entered our lives – then don’t abandon it in favour of scrolling through Instagram for 30 min in bed every morning. If meditation was never your thing – perhaps now is a good time to explore what 10 minutes of mindfulness mediation can do for your own grounding.
There are lots of great free online resources – and the Calm app is a favourite of mine.
Committing to a good routine that sees you tending to your own needs makes you so much better able to cope with the pressures of this time. Be kind to yourself. Talk to friends, journal, laugh, sing, dance, cry – and know that you are not alone.