By Eve Bandusena | Writer for Parents Avenue
All images via Freepik
Let’s admit, with COVID-19 ensuring we’ve been generally spending a chunk of our time on one thing: our phones. And, it’s understandably so. We’re keeping up with the latest news of the pandemic, scrolling through our social media and catching up with friends and family through calls and texts to elude boredom (and our kids!) However, when can we determine our media consumption is enough and where does real connectedness with our families begin?
For one, removing mental clutter through setting boundaries and limit towards our media usage can help promote a more present, clearer, and a sharper mind. It also helps us strengthen our day to day interactions with our spouse and children. Now is a more important time than ever to uphold our family’s togetherness as we navigate these rather uncertain times. So, give your phone a break and focus on bonding with your family instead. When you pick the phone up, the world will still be right there.
Since the MCO was announced (and since extended), the routines of our lives have been shaken and the balance of our lives has been challenged especially for parents. With a lack of connection and interaction with the outside world (and a break from our kids), these may give rise to feelings of guilt, anxiety, and stress. This can knock us off our axis and our capacity to mindfully parent. It’s important to remember that in these times, practicing self-care as parents first are essential to parenting as best as possible.
Since we’re going to be stuck indoors for some time, there’s a lot of home-based pursuits and self-care activities that are worth trying from writing, cooking, crafting, exercising, reading, and so forth. Having a few minutes to recollect ourselves allows us to regain a sense of peace, composure, and mental perseverance to get through the whirlwind day we might face and enables us to parent as mindfully and intentionally as we can. So, don’t forget that a little self-care goes a long way.
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden at your home, then getting a dose of Vitamin D and spending time in nature deeply benefits our wellbeing.
“Research reveals that environments can increase or reduce our stress, which in turn impacts our bodies. What you are seeing, hearing, experiencing at any moment is changing not only your mood, but how your nervous, endocrine, and immune systems are working.”
“In one study in Mind, 95% of those interviewed said their mood improved after spending time outside, changing from depressed, stressed, and anxious to more calm and balanced. Other studies by Ulrich, Kim, and Cervinka show that time in nature or scenes of nature are associated with a positive mood, and psychological wellbeing, meaningfulness, and vitality.”
Indeed, nature can be a cure and calm from the chaos of raising our kids. We can include our kids in this practice too outside of the usual tasks such as having breakfasts, home-schooling, having dinner, and so forth. Get curious and explore the backyard with your kids, identify what time of plant they are, and encourage them to nurture the plants by getting them to water them.
The world is going through a devastating time both with economical tolls affecting the lives of millions of people including the lives of people at risk. And, it’s effortless to get lost in the rabbit hole of negative news which generally leaves us with feelings of hopelessness and fear from the future. With all of this happening, it’s important to cultivate the practice of gratitude and ruminating on what’s going right in our lives instead.
Being grateful shifts our perspective, whether it’s for your children’s health or that you’re able to have food on the table for your family, it helps to strengthen our sense of stability in very unsteady times. Get your children in on it too and let it be a daily ritual. If it gets difficult for your kids, do help them along in searching for what they’re grateful for.
Here are some of the many ways you could make practicing gratitude fun for the entire family!
Undoubtedly, every family will experience this pandemic differently. If there parents or children whose mental health is vulnerably affected, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. There are various local hotlines set up for this purpose. Remember, there’s no shame in taking care and placing your mental health as a parent first. By ensuring our mental health is at its best, we can help our children properly navigate these tough times with ease and strength.