living in one of the most unprecedented times in living history and it is
important to recognise how exceptionally resilient we have been during the last
8 weeks in lockdown. Take a moment to reflect upon that statement. Yes as
humans we are naturally creative and incredibly adaptable beings.
doubt, there will have been times of fear, of anxiety and of hopelessness and
despair, but amongst the tidal waves of raw and very big emotions, there will
also have been moments of success, of hope, of love and laughter and
already have been using tools from within your emotional toolbox in order to
navigate these uncertain days, but I hope that I will be able to awaken your
sense of skill, as well as suggest some new and creative ideas to support you
and your families
happens to our bodies when we’re stressed?
of crisis, uncertainty and stress, our brains and bodies become dysregulated
leading us to be in a fight or flight mode. We are waiting for the “bear,”
and these days illness, to come around the corner and our concentration
and ability to focus, as well as our productive and creative brain, will be
traumas, losses or anxieties may be reawakened in us and our behaviours and
responses to our children and our own needs change or old unwanted behaviours
become ever-present. If this happens, allow yourself the time to notice, to
stop, to listen to yourself and your responses and reflect upon how best to
help yourself and your children.
that emotional responses will feel even bigger right now. That’s ok and to be
expected but it is so important to remember that this too shall pass. I often
like to think about how emotions change for adults and children alike during
the course of a day just as the waves change as they reach the shore.
We are under incredible strain as parents and employees trying to navigate working from home in a crisis while “home-schooling,” we need to dig deep. Learning to manage these uncomfortable emotions is a lifetime’s work but being conscious of them will help you to feel less overwhelmed and stressed.
such as these, we need to be mindful of our mental health needs in order to
meet the needs of our children. It’s a case of putting our own ‘oxygen mask’ on
first. Unless we do this, we’re going to feel very dysregulated much of the
time. You need to nourish your own basic needs (such as food, water and sleep)
where you can get it, in order to successfully meet, contain and validate the
needs of your children.
your body is feeling. If you can, do a body scan.
- Are you feeling really tense? Where does the tension sit? In your hands? In your heart? In your toes?
- For children a body scan can be completed in a very visual way – draw around their bodies either in chalk or pen and get them to label different parts of their body that feel feelings- for example does their heart feel love? Where do they feel anger? Hurt? Excitement or worry? Activities such as these open up opportunities for discussion and growing emotional awareness.
hand where you’re feeling most angst and try and ground yourself in the moment.
By this, I mean STOP, DROP AND BREATHE
- STOP in the moment
- DROP everything you’re doing
- And take 3 deep BREATHS
activity can also be used for children and helps to regulate yourself and them,
before reaching volcanic explosions and responses
thing to do every morning that will help you to feel grounded or have a giggle
– such as doing a dance like no one is watching or stretching, going for a walk
and standing and listening to the nature around you
Notice and validate big emotions
applies to our emotions and the emotions felt by your children. During these
times, it’s to be expected that sometimes your emotions will overwhelm you and
that of your child.
yourself it’s Ok to feel these big emotions and this too shall pass. Be
compassionate with yourself and your children.
urge to run away from the emotion, just BREATHE. Expect the emotions that
you’re feeling, notice how they move and change. By doing this, you will be
helping to regulate your brain activity and reduce the flood of cortisol.
you work through these big emotions, you are emptying your emotional rucksack.
By developing your resilience, your children will mirror you and therefore you
are doing an amazing job in developing their emotional regulatory behaviours
too. Things won’t always go right, its ok and being reflective with yourself
and your child about the less successful emotional moments is important
activities you enjoy
expected to learn a new language or expected to clean and tidy our homes in
Marie Kondo style is not necessary right now, but it is important to give
yourself permission to do something that you love for a few moments each
your children to think about creative ways to nurture their interests too. For
- Plant sunflower seeds and water them daily, watching them grow
- Create an obstacle course on the street using chalk on the pavement
- Grab a paintbrush and some paint and just let the strokes of your brush flow. It’s amazing what your unconscious can tell you through this activity. See where your painting flow takes you.
think too far ahead
like to live in the moment. As soon as we start thinking about what ifs and
what next, the little almond sized part of our brain known as the ‘amygdala’
starts flapping away. It controls the emotional response panel in our brains,
and it doesn’t know how to navigate the future.
much about trying to bring ourselves back to the present moment, which can be
so difficult during such uncertain times. But psychologically, we know that our
amazing, creative, productive and resilient brains work best when we are in the
For so much of this time, we have been navigating the sense of stress and worry that lockdown has brought to us as a nation. That said, we are incredibly adaptive beings and you will notice that over the course of the weeks your sense of heightened worry may have diminished slightly with time. Recognise your and your child’s amazing adaptability and whilst we continue to experience waves of emotion, congratulate yourself that you have come this far. Remember what you’re doing is good enough and hold on to that in the toughest of times.
If you would like a webinar to support the Mental Health of employees during this period of Covid-19, please be in touch for some ideas.