Put your own oxygen mask on first. We know this statement from flying in a commercial aircraft. Should the cabin pressure change dramatically, an oxygen mask will drop down from the overhead compartment. Put your own mask on before you try to help someone else. The thought being, of course, that you are not going to be effective in helping someone else if you are panicking or incapacitated due to your own lack of oxygen. This theory applies to you when addressing your child’s concerns, too.
Coronavirus is bound to increase our anxiety as we try to learn more about it, hear about the number of cases and deaths rising in other communities or our own. We are likely to experience waves of anxiety as things change around us. One day we might find ourselves feeling relatively safe and low risk; and the next day we hear about someone young who was affected or possibly one of our own family members or friends being diagnosed with COVID-19; which might cause our anxiety levels to rise.
We might find ourselves much more fragile than we thought, as we discover our own tears falling during a Disney movie. Our fears are right under the surface, and it doesn’t take much to loosen the mask of confidence and push our emotions over the edge. We might experience a few tears or a major meltdown, yelling at the kids, our husband and the dog, for an otherwise minor infraction of house rules. If we acknowledge that we are fragile, and that the world outside our four walls is changing, and tend to our own emotional health, then we will likely navigate these changes a little more smoothly.
How do we tend to our own emotional stability? Here are some tips:
- Acknowledge. Be honest with yourself, remind yourself that things around your little family are changing and don’t feel the same as they did a few short weeks ago.
- Attend to your own self care. Your self care is changing. Where you used to be able to easily get your haircut, teeth cleaned (that’s for you, Kat!) a pedicure or your nails done, you now have to attend to that differently. If you had a nice cup of coffee by yourself or a jog with a friend after the kids left for school, now you can’t do that the same way. Alone time was easier to achieve before coronavirus. Now the children are all home 24/7, and you are expected to step into a different role concerning their education. Your self care has changed. You must take the time to figure out new ways of self care.
- Be gentle with yourself. Resist the urge to increase self expectations. Remind yourself that you deserve every good thing. Slow down. Breathe deeply. Take short walks outside the house. Allow yourself a good book to read, a chapter every night. Get up a little earlier, spend a little more time in the shower. Be good to yourself. Shower yourself with mini-gifts of fresh air and sunshine.
- Share your thoughts. Make sure you have your listening partner. Being heard and understood is so powerful, and coronavirus changes are no exception. If you don’t have a listening partner, a journal is very helpful. Write like you would write to your best best friend.
- Connection is key. You’re likely not logging the face to face time with adults like you were before coronavirus. You’re likely talking to very short people 🙂 all day. Know that even a short FaceTime call with a friend can be so powerful. Keep those connections happening! Connect visually with friends and family using the technology available to us.
6. Get out of the house and move your body. Exercise is important to our immune system and our mental health in addition to the obvious benefit to our physical bodies. Get out and move. Walk to the mailbox. Walk around the block. Push the stroller, ride your bike, try out yoga or BeachBody (www.getfitwithNicola.com ) or learn to stretch. There are many ways to take care of your body, please don’t leave this last on the list! Now is the time to bring it to the top! You deserve it. Your family deserves a mom who is happy and healthy.
Blog written by WarmLine Member Patty Reis