We are now in deep in the midst of another lockdown,
which means many children haven’t been to school for weeks, and many parents have turned into teachers whilst also trying to work themselves, and/or run a household and look after the wellbeing of their children as well as themselves. Here are some wellbeing reflections that might help get us all through to the other side…
1) Survival – sometimes it’s enough!
In the first lockdown, there was lots of talk of people learning new skills, developing side hustles or baking endless banana bread. All of these can be great for wellbeing, but first and foremost it’s important to remember we are in a pandemic!
These are not standard times – worries about Covid-19, people in our usual support network that we now can’t meet up with or hug, and all the additional tasks and uncertainty about the future all mean that sometimes just being able to get to the end of a day is achievement enough.
2) Point number 1 – applies to looking after children too!
Looking after children during a pandemic is not easy – whether this be looking after preschool children without being able to go to playgroups or a friend’s house, or becoming an accidental teacher and being responsible for teaching phonics, science, or history.
Children can vary in their responses to this new world we find ourselves in, but missing schoolfriends, being fed up of Zoom classes and feeling frustrated are all completely valid responses that many will have. It is, after all, a pandemic! Some days you might fly through the list of teaching tasks you have with your child, other days you might limp through to only completing one that day – both of these are totally acceptable. Do you know why? Because it’s a pandemic!!!
3) Routine – great for children, great for adults too
Children, particularly younger ones, benefit from consistent routine – having a pattern of when you get up, meal times, school learning time and play time all help them know what to expect of the day. But routine is important for adults too, for exactly the same reasons. Most people will acknowledge that routines have been affected by lockdown – maybe getting up later as there’s nowhere to go, leaving the house less, our food choices… the list goes on.
If you are finding that the changes in routine are affecting how you’re feeling about yourself, having an achievable plan of how you would like things to be is the first step. If you notice that lots of things need focusing on (for example, wanting to make changes to your sleep pattern and to your activity levels), try changing one thing at a time – lots of changes at once can feel overwhelming and unsustainable.
4) What are you celebrating?
Yes, you read that correctly – what are you celebrating about what you have managed to achieve during this pandemic? Sometimes it can be difficult to even notice the ‘wins’, but they are there. It might be that you have managed to keep yourself and your family loved and cared for.
It might be that you have thought more clearly about the future and how you would like your life to be. It might be that you’ve decided to prioritise your own needs more. These are all positives which should be embraced! Celebrations aren’t a denial of the difficulties, but a reminder that the two can exist hand in hand.
In summary, lockdown might feel really tough,
because it is really tough.
It really is. The physical and mental health effects of living through this time have been consistently highlighted by both research and by people sharing their stories and experiences.
Focusing on your children’s wellbeing, as well as your own, is an ongoing skill, and there will be days where things don’t go to plan. There will be days where things can’t go to plan. But there will ‘good enough’ days, alongside the frankly rubbish ones. If you are struggling and you need to talk to someone, do email me on firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time to speak and think about sources of support.