Throughout all of your preparations to becoming a parent, I’m going to lay odds that never in your wildest imaginations would you have thought one day you would be googling for information about parenting during a pandemic. And yet, here you are.
Well, you are not alone. Because while you, me, and everyone else were cruising down the road of life, we all were oblivious to the changes that lay in store for us. But then, without a caution sign, Covid-19 made its ugly appearance. Something we thought (and hoped) would blow over quickly has decided to dig its heels in to stretch the very limits of our normal ability to cope and continue our daily routines.
STRESSFUL TRANSITIONS DURING COVID-19
Over these last thirteen months, I have to admit there have been times where I feel like I have been transported to an unknown land. And yet, no matter how strange life got, life still had to go on. And it still goes on despite the ever-changing transitions that take place. However, parents, I feel, have had to deal with the most changes and upheavals to their schedule over the last year.
Parenting has always been challenging, but parenting during a pandemic has brought it to a whole new level. With the open and closed patterns our schools have been forced to take, workplaces being closed, today’s parents find themselves in different roles, such as keeping their kids on track with their virtual schoolwork while working from home and still maintaining a household. It’s no wonder the stress levels of parents are at an all-time high. While I can’t help you, parent, I can help you deal with that stress. Here are four simple tips that can help you to cope:
4 TIPS THAT CAN HELP YOU DEAL WITH PARENTING DURING A PANDEMIC
1. Take care of yourself first.
How did you react when you read this first tip? Does it seem selfish to you? Why? I’m not sure where the concept came from that parents should run themselves ragged for their children to the detriment of their own well-being, but it happens—regularly.
Parenting takes a lot of energy and even more so during this pandemic. If your own basic needs aren’t being met, you will be less likely to have the stamina you need to take care of others. Some ideas you can do daily to take care of yourself are:
- Get enough quality sleep
- Have a cup of coffee in peace and quiet
- Go for a walk outside
- Hunker down with a good book
- Make time for some fun and enjoy yourself
2. Turn off the news.
This is a tip I have made a point in following for my own sanity amid this whole mess. I know we all want to stay informed and keep up with what is happening, but at some point, enough is enough, and for our mental health, we have to shut it off.
When your mind is constantly being inundated day after day with difficult news, it has a way of sucking the life out of you. It becomes detrimental to your emotional well-being, making it even more challenging to carry out your responsibilities. And while we are on this subject, I might as well address social media. While it has many positive aspects, social media can also affect your level of stress and anxiety. So, it’s wise to limit your exposure on there as well.
3. Let yourself off the hook.
Every parent knows that even in the best of times, parenting is a taxing job. And even more so now because of the circumstances, we are dealing with. The last year has found us living in a unique situation that none of us have had to face before. So cut yourself some slack if you feel like you are not functioning at your usual standard.
I’m not saying to lower your expectations for yourself or your children because the circumstances have changed. However, you can shift those expectations to figure out what works best for you and your family during this time. And remember these two things. First, it’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed at times. And second, there are no perfect parents.
4. Recognize and Focus on the Positive.
In these trying times, it can be so easy to focus on the negative. I get it. I think it’s safe to say we all have gotten discouraged and tired at times during this past year. But when this virus does eventually get under control (and it will), there will be other challenging situations and obstacles to overcome because that’s life.
There’s no time like the present to look for and appreciate the positives whenever and wherever we can find them. And if we can acknowledge and understand our emotions while trying to be positive during these times, it will go a long way in helping us as we go forward.
“Stay positive. Better days are on their way.” — Unknown.
For sure, Covid-19 has brought many changes to all of our lives. And indeed, the transitions we have had to go through have brought about a tremendous amount of stress. However, like most life transitions, whether good or bad, planned or unexpected, they allow us to grow and learn even if we don’t find them comfortable.
I hope you find these four tips helpful in your quest to deal with parenting during this pandemic. If you would like to learn additional strategies to manage stress, a great way to do it is by working with an anxiety coach through breakthrough coaching. And in the meantime, just know, that you will get through this—we all will.
Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. The easiest way to start taking control of your anxiety is to take the FREE 5-Day Anxiety Detox Challenge. If you would like more personalized support, I invite you to contact me or make an appointment online.Together we will work on managing your parenting stress during this pandemic so you can better focus on being a happy parent and enjoying the good times with your family.