During these unprecedented times — when fears are heightened and the norm is anything but normal — it is difficult for any of us to be at our best.
With multiple stressors related to Covid (mental health concerns, financial hardship, and the responsibilities of raising our children and often educating them at home), there are positive actions we can take to enable us to thrive and to help our children flourish.
We can take this opportunity to model behaviors which emphasize important values such as self-compassion, resilience, grit, courage, cooperation, teamwork, empathy, and kindness in the face of adversity. Here are some tips:
- Be kind to yourself and others. This means resetting your expectations, and being as non-judgmental and critical as possible. For example, if you find that you are not accomplishing all of your usual goals, accept that other things are taking your time and draining your energy. Or, if your adolescent children are particularly snarky, understand that they are being deprived of the socializing that is such an important aspect of their lives and development.
- Take good care of yourself and your family: eating well, sleeping well, exercising, spending time outdoors, keeping up with routine medical care, and socializing (responsibly).
- Find time to engage in healthy activities that relieve stress and bring joy. For some it means cooking or even cleaning, for others it’s listening to music or painting. Make the most of family time. Select activities that everyone enjoys, or take turns in choosing.
- Recognize the needs of each of your children. Even same-aged children need different things to feel happy and safe. Consider what you know about each of your children and try to relate to them.
- Have empathy. Really listen and observe. We need to try to understand how the other person, being that person, may be feeling at a given time, not how we are feeling or experiencing the moment.
- Focus on what you have as opposed to what you don’t. Focus on positives, not negatives. And practice gratefulness.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is a sign of strength and confidence.
Wishing you all safety and peace of mind,
Andrea Reiter, LSW | Summit Prep’s Personal Growth Coach
- Want to be happy? Be grateful TED Talk
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- Child Development: Positive Parenting Tips – CDC.gov
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