Wednesday 25 March 2020

Dealing with the stress of being stuck at home

The latest government advice recommends a minimum of three weeks of social distancing and self-isolation to tackle the Coronavirus COVID-19 spread. Many families have had to change how they operate - and in a home like ours where routine is king, it can make us stressed and anxious. 
COVID-19 affects people in a variety of ways. As a result, the situation becomes a lot more stressful as there’s no way of knowing without a test who could be contagious. How do you best manage stress as a family and stay united in those times of need?

Help people understand why they are having to stay at home

If you haven't already, now's the time to try and explain why we are at home.  We’re on a national lockdown so you need to sit down with your family and talk to each other about wha  Coronavirus means. Wait, how do I tell my kids about it?

Firstly, you need to relax as best you can as kids can often sense when you are stressed and worried about something, but you do know a lot about COVID-19 already. We know what the most common symptoms are, which is something you can explain to your kids. We also know that it is highly contagious, which is why safety measures are being implemented. You can tell your kids about the coronavirus in a simple but factual way.  We also talked about how germs spread, which is a great opportunity to refresh their memories about how to wash their hands properly and how to leave surfaces clean.

If you want them to follow strict rules about using the soap more often, cleaning after themselves and avoiding touching their faces, you need to make sure they understand why. Having the conversation with them is going to make a great deal of difference.

Try to do calming activities as part of your routine

Staying indoors together might sound like a nice idea at first, but, it can become irritating in the long term. The truth is as much as they'd like to, having all the kids glued to devices will take it's toll and having no routine will have a serious impact on how they feel.

The idea of being at home all the time can make us feel anxious and frustrated. But there are ways to help you stay calm and bring yourself back.

Routines make us feel safe so try to come up with a simple schedule for your days. The school routine has disappeared but having a routine at home will help everyone know what they are supposed to be doing and give them certainty in their day.  Finding a soothing ritual to follow every day can help with stress. You can keep a meditation or yoga app to practise in the morning, for instance, mindfulness colouring and even have time when people can be on their own if they want to be.

Try and keep healthy habits in mind

Along with some exercise as part of a routine you might also think about the others things you can do to help you stay healthy.   Stress eating chocolate can feel good in the short-term (I know) but it's not going to help me stay healthy so I can look after everyone especially if anyone falls ill.

See if you can think about another piece of fruit at lunch or a vegetable substitute at dinner. Fruit loops won't help kids chill during the day but it's up to you what you think they can cope with.  Changing a little can work for some kids... change can need to be very slow for others.

Think about what switches you could make to be healthy, whether it's more low-fat, less sugary snacks, taking the current opportunity to go out for a walk or switch to an e liquid.  You'll need to do what you can cope with without causing additional stress.

Vary activities you do

Yes, I've just said have routine but that doesn't mean repeat every day exactly the same.  'Free time' or 'Family time' can be used for different things.  If your kids are old enough, why not try a board games? If you’ve got a game console, you can find for games that are suitable for the whole family. Watching each other play and helping family members through levels can be great fun - it's like having your own internal Twitch stream.  It can be a great way of spending an afternoon during the weekend. You can even get some healthy snacks ready for everyone for your gaming day.

If video games aren’t your thing, have you considered music? You don’t need to be an experienced musician to create a playlist for your family and sing your favourite songs together. Music is a fantastic way to relax and boost your mood and get dancing.  We often use songs from movies we've watched so you'll find we like things from Guardians of Galaxy, Trolls and Frozen at the moment.

Do different things in your 'alone' time if you can.  This just means giving people the house some space.  It could be painting or playing games, or watching their favourite programme on the TV instead of something 'everyone likes'.  Recycling the toys in their boxes and see what else you have around that could be used to make things - try the recycling as a starting point for making things?

Managing stress as a family on lockdown is not easy. Look after yourself and if you have any great ideas - please feel free to share.

1 comment:

  1. Great ideas. We are going to attempt some family play on the Wii this weekend (haven't even looked at it for years). It is also so important to get some alone time and I am beginning to realise the need to split the kids up a bit. #SpectrumSunday


I read all your comments and appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me and our readers. I welcome any feedback on my posts and you can always contact me directly. Thank you.

Have a look at our most recent posts:

@rainbowsaretoo Ann H on Google + rainbowsaretoo pinterest rainbowsaretoobeautiful bloglovin Instagram rainbowsaretoobeautiful