Notes from Rose
I’m a parent of two young children, and I can empathize with how difficult this is for parents and families trying to juggle working, caregiving/parenting, and now homeschooling. It can be stressful and overwhelming and can lead to thoughts that increase anxiety, hopelessness, and distress for everyone.
First of all, acknowledge all these feelings, they are all valid — anxiety during times of uncertainty is completely normal. As a parent you are taking on more roles and responsibilities than before; this strain can impact you and the family.
What you can do?
- Breathe in and breathe out
- Acknowledge these feelings; notice your thoughts
- Let go of any judgment that may arise. (Give yourself a break!)
Right now it is more important than ever to take care of your physical health and mental health, but that seems to be at odds with parenting demands, work projects, and other responsibilities. Today I’d like to share some tips and ideas that I hope you find helpful in prioritizing your health while being able to support your children and family.
- Routine, routine, routine: the cornerstone of good life skills. It counteracts anxiety as it brings about predictability. It sends neurons to the brain that remind us that these are familiar activities that bring comfort and safety, both of which are especially helpful in an unpredictable world.
Why is routine good?
- It establishes boundaries. Right now all these boundaries are blurred. We used to get up, get ready, and leave for the day. These activities have changed, and it’s more difficult to distinguish between work and home.
- Routines help us be more effective with our time, reduce procrastination, prioritize important activities, be productive and achieve our goals.
- Kids need this consistency more than ever. They need to know what to expect, and what follows what. Keep up with the same rhythms of going to bedtime, meals, morning routines, etc.
- Hold onto meaning rituals. Familiar rhythms practiced again and again can reduce anxiety and boost positive emotions. Celebrate a tradition, if that is part of your family life. For example, my family celebrates Easter Sunday with church services and egg hunts. These traditions may take on a different form but they’re still part of our lives.
Build out the schedule. Plans for the week should include self-care and quality time together. Try using a whiteboard or print out an online calendar that everyone can see and contribute to::
- Let your children take on additional roles and responsibilities to help foster autonomy, self-confidence, and self-esteem.
- For free time/weekends, focus on adding activities in three domains: productivity, social time and alone time/self-care. Identify what recharges you and your children, and build in those activities.
Check back for Part 2!