As a working from home parent I do feel slightly consumed by everything that’s going on, trying to juggle many tasks and keeping things moving. I’m aware of how easy it is for our working day and home-life to merge into one and to be honest, I have often forgot that I’ve got teenagers especially when I become so engrossed in the creative ideas that are being offered up in this remote world we have found ourselves in. It’s a good job I also have a working from home husband, who generally remembers!
I’m not usually overwhelmed by change or stuff in general and therefore I’m trying to put the Covid-19 Global Pandemic (perhaps the biggest threat since the Spanish flu in 1918) under the heading of ‘Stuff’ Me and my Teenagers have so far survived 3 weeks of lockdown and so far we’re ok.
So as a working from home Mam (because that’s what I am now?) and part of our Children’s Mental Health Leadership Team I’d thought I would put a few of my thoughts together. I can promise you that only some of this is recommended by WHO or approved by NICE but at the minute it seems to be getting us all through! During lockdown two of the main things that I have questioned.
Top of my List has got to be Physical Activity
For me running and weights is the biggest factor in helping me maintain wellbeing. When I’m ok you’re ok….and so is everyone else come to think of it…..Going for daily runs outdoors (keeping within my 30 minutes and the 2m social distancing of course!) helps me process the day’s events and has helped separate work from home in what has been a very busy 3 weeks. Although, I don’t claim to have got this bit right, as Unfortunately I haven’t quite persuaded the kids to join in. Apparently they ‘wouldn’t dare’ be seen running with mam?They prefer to, when they eventually roll out of bed, kick a football around in the garden, play PC/X-box or torment each other and me in the process!
Routine & Structure
Working from home can be rather empowering, although it does take more self-discipline and demands a lot more structure and new rituals, doing that with teenagers in the house is much more challenging as I’ve found! Having a structure for my working day, getting up early, getting dressed, brushing teeth, brushing my hair is kind of working out rather well for me, but for the kids…this is a different story. I tend to approach things in a calm and controlled way, tackling things as they arise and although planning is a big part of my role, I’m taking each day as it comes, for the time being that is!
Humour & Connecting
I’m finding our newly set up Children’s Mini Cobra WhatsApp groups hilarious in sharing light-hearted and witty banter that can be uplifting at 8 in the morning or 11 at night! Alongside all my other WhatsApp groups and attempting a ‘House-Party’ at the weekend. Although yet again my teenage sons find this horrifying and have told me about all the flaws in this and personal data issues. I definitely need to connect more and listen to young people!
Sleep Hygiene – Give Ourselves a break.
Good sleep hygiene is important we know that for both ourselves and our children, however I certainly am not getting that bit right just yet for me or for my teenagers? What’s the worse thing that can happen if my 13year old stays in bed until after 2 in the afternoon? Given that he may not have closed his eyes until 2 in the morning that’s 12 hours sleep is it not? Ill give him some credit, the mornings he has got up at 7, showered, completed his Edmodo tasks and I’ve thought great stuff only to find him flat out in my bed at 11! The adolescent years during Covid-19 are certainly one for them to remember!
Be creative and let go a little
“Let’s be creative and use this as an opportunity to develop, in a way that we haven’t been able to before” I hear myself saying to anyone who will listen! Not usually a phrase for the home but in my home this has so far fell on deaf ears! Although I must say work colleagues and parents themselves are doing just that, going above and beyond, going the extra mile….getting very creative…. innovative and pushing some of their own boundaries, all whilst trying to do the same and parent!
Off The Wine!
I’ve been alcohol free for around 9 months now, a life choice. My wine intake would have most definitely increased during this time and my mental health taken more of a hit! Although im very tempted especially in the run up to a sunny Easter weekend, with no real sign of this lockdown lifting just yet.
Finally, for me I feel fortunate and above all am grateful! I know there are many parents struggling with financial difficulties or who are experiencing much pain and loss. Parents with difficult home situations or where relationships might be abusive or parents who have difficulties with their own mental health struggling to cope in this further anxiety provoking time.
Here’s to all of us as parents/carers in Alliance long may we continue to ‘Wash our hands, Stay Safe and Keep the Teenagers in bed where they can cause no harm!
Here’s just a few of the hundreds of self-helps/guidance or links going around!
Stay In and Work Out https://www.sportengland.org/stayinworkout
Young Minds – Talking to your child about Coronavirus and 10 tips from their Parents Helpline to support family wellbeing: https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/talking-to-your-child-about-coronavirus/
BACP guidance around managing anxiety – https://www.bacp.co.uk/news/news-from-bacp/2020/28-february-coronavirus-anxiety-how-to-cope-if-you-re-feeling-anxious-about-the-outbreak/
Anna Freud links – Supporting schools & colleges: A guide to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils and students during periods of disruption There are also three videos, one for school staff, one for parents and one forchildren and young people which may be useful.
And not forgetting our *BRAND NEW Alliance Website* www.alliancepsychology.com
where we will be adding lots more resources and useful tips to support all of us.
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