So tomorrow the schools shut, today the shelves are empty and everything is so uncertain and up in the air. It’s the only conversation on everyone’s lips. It seems there is no escape from the news!
I must admit that I did slightly stick my head in the sand when this all started but over the last week it’s been impossible to ignore.
Anxiety, worry and panic are the overwhelming feelings in most households. It all feels so out of our control.
However what we can control are our thoughts and our actions. We have the power to still be kind, to others but to ourselves too.
I am sure that there will be lots of parents beating themselves up over the next few weeks for maybe snapping at their little darlings when they just wont listen, or feeling guilty for plonking them down in front of Paw Patrol for just one more episode because mommy is too tired to create one of the many, many, many “fabulous and creative and most of all easy” ideas that are all over our feeds at the moment, which although are very helpful can be quite overwhelming….but maybe that is just me!
I am writing this just as much for myself to be honest as I will definitely fall into this category and then ultimately feel like the worst mother ever.
So I say lets all take a collective Breath…..thats it, a big deep breath in through the nose and out through the mouth, letting go of guilt, blame, competetiveness, inadequnecy and any other negative feelings we may have.
I feel like the best thing to do is to take each day as it comes. Things are moving too rapidly to do anything else. Let me be clear I am not trying to water down what is going on at all. I totally understand the seriousness of the situation but lets control the controllables.
1)Thoughts…. Sometimes we have to search for the positives but they are there if you look Journaling is a great way of tackling feelings of overwhelm and getting your thoughts in order. Try it tonight, just write down everything you are thinking and feeling. Whatever is in your head just get it out and down on paper. Then write 3 things that you are grateful for that day, really focus on those 3 things before you go to sleep.
2)Breath Work…….deep breathing and mindfulness are proven to reduce feelings of panic and anxiety. Stress is a physiological response so that we can fight or flight in times of danger. Your heart beats quicker, your pupils dilate, your reproductive and digestive system dials down as your brain thinks “we do not need to make a baby right now and there is no time for food, lets send the blood to the legs, arms and the brain so we can get out of this situation alive”
We can control this response by first becoming more aware of it. When you notice yourself feeling stressed. STOP what you are doing and take some deep calming breaths….in for 4 hold for 4 out for 4 and hold for 4. This is is called Box Breathing and just a few minutes of this will take you back into your rest and digest part of your nervous system, which is where we want to be for most of the time.
Be proactive and start a regular mindfulness practice as this will help you tune into your body more easily so you will be able to notice when you are feeling stressed. Try some guided meditations. I have included one for you to try.
First get yourself comfortable in a place where it is quiet and you won’t be disturbed (I recommend the children are already in bed when you try this lol) it is 10 minutes long but it will make you feel so relaxed.
There has NEVER been a better time to start a good relaxation practice. There is no right or wrong way to do it, just be still! The more you practice the better you will become.
3)Social Interaction…..yes I know we are all social distancing now but maybe you could set up conference calls with your friends, face time the grandparents regularly. Join an online group where you can chat and share things. Here is where the internet truly is a blessing as I can’t imagine the loneliness that some people will feel during this time of isolation.
4)Protect your mind…….limit the amount of “news” you read and the amount of talk you are involved in about Corona Virus. YOU can control this! Unfollow or hide posts from your news feed if what they are saying makes you feel anxious, mute whats app conversations if they are getting too much or even leave the group, you can always type a polite message before you leave explaining and I know that people will understand.
“Be strong now, because things will get better, It might be stormy now but it can’t rain forever”
Sending you all love and positivity
Be safe , be well and be kind