Our new reality definitely has its draw backs, I am not going to pretend that the media isn’t getting the better of my mental state. But one thing I know I need to manage well is my mental health and right now it is more important than ever. Remember our kids pick up on everything we say not to mention when we can keep ourselves mentally in check we can be fully present to the demands of motherhood and in many instances right now a combination of full time mum and full time working from home. I have been talking to many mums and trialling a few things myself and have come up with a bit of a survival list for us to manage the coming months. This wont be a one size fits all so I suggest you trial everything. I would love to hear what works for you!
Self care first. Remember that our immune system is going to be compromised with stress and if we aren’t taking care of ourselves. So we need to make sure we;
Exercise – movement is more important now than ever before
Meditation – switching off from the chaos is key with decreasing stress and panic
Healthy sleep habits – first things first lets get sleep and start the day right.
Nourish through nutrition – I find that if I get the above 3 this usually falls into place.
This will put us in the best position to stay well and healthy both physically and mentally.
I know its one thing to list self care here but another thing to actually find time for it. With your home becoming a family daycare, office for mum and dad, meeting space all on top of normal home duties its hard to find time and space for a bit of love for yourself. So my absolute key is to get up before your kids. Find time to move, meditate and have a mini to yourselves. It is likely you wont get another chance to do it. I know some kids get up at the crack so if that is the case perhaps make time for it in the evening. What I do like about the morning is that there are literally zero distractions, it sets you up for the day and you are so much more likely to get it done.
I know the reality of the situation that your whole family is home and you will have two parents trying to work from home and children with varying needs home as well. I have heard a few people are working in shifts, which I think is an amazing idea. So it might be that Mum works from 6-12 and dad from 12-6 with a few hours for both of you again at night. I know its not ideal but it’s a way for one parent to be fully present with the kids and the other to get quality focus work time in. That way you can be assured to be able to have conference calls and zoom meetings without too much disruption.
Have set work free time. With my work schedule being so disrupted I have found that I am just doing little bits all the time. It is important to switch off and have some planned off time. You might have a no work over the weekend promise to your self and your family or a couple of nights or days but it is crucial to be able to just relax and live with a balanced load.
Kids will definitely be feeling what the world is going through at the moment, whether they are truly aware or not they will have a sense of whether things are safe or not. We might see them acting up, pushing the boundaries and perhaps a few more tantrums. So we want to keep as much normality as we possibly can. I know there is more tv being watched and zero social interaction which is impossible to combat however if we have set times for tv, set times for outdoor play and set times for structured activity they will feel more secure. It will be more predictable for them and there will be less resistance when you turn the tv off.
We have loosely been following a routine of :
730am Kids Heart Pilates
8-9am free play
9-10 structure outdoor games
10-11 free play outside
1130 – lunch
230 – puzzles/ craft
330- outdoor games & play
530 – baths
7pm bed & mum and dad relax.
There are loads of different schedules floating around at the moment and you need to find out what works for you, your work, your children’s current routine and your family needs its not going to be a one size fits all.
We are so lucky to be in this day and age where we are all so connected via amazing technology. So we can facetime our friends and family, we can do online programs (I know some good one 😉 ), we can work from home and we can keep in touch with everyone fairly easily. So incorporate your kids into that. Try facetiming the grandparents regularly rather than seeing them, doing online programs for kids, better yet do it with them and join all the mothers groups on Facebook. We have an opportunity to stay connected here.
Remember that while we are feeling the effects of a changed way of life so are our kids. They are not getting to interact with other kids nearly as much if at all, role play with them and learn from them. I don’t like to think of this too much as it worries me but what I am trying to do is have times of the day where I am doing activities with them and am fully present. I do Pilates with them, I jump on the trampoline and play games, we role play and do craft together. Dedicate times and activities in your day that you are getting down to their level and you are playing with them.
Finally its really important to check in with yourself and your family daily, we are in a time of unknown which can play havoc with our mental state so make it a habit to just check in with each other at the dinner table and choose a positive that has come as a result of this situation.
There is no escaping that we are in unknown territory and as humans we don’t like it. We need to remind ourselves that we can do it, we are all in it together and my favourite ‘this too shall pass’. I hope this helps you navigate a new norm. Remember if you want to take advantage of my home relief package which is a mix of kids and postnatal programs you can do from home!