Mum-ing in times of high stress.
We're all experiencing a very strange and unprecedented time at the moment. The virus-that-shall-not-be-named is effecting each of us differently, but I think its fair to say that the majority of us are experiencing increased stress levels. Stress is not a new thing for mums tho, we have all been through times of stress in the past whether is be due to illness, work stress, children acting out, sleeplessness etc. This is probably just an extreme or longer lasting version of situations we've been in before.
The the thing about being a mum, is that it doesn't stop. Its relentless and exhausting. Largely a 2 year old has no interest in what's going on in the world - Weetbix still has to be made, sandwiches still have to be cut into exactly the right shapes (arg!) and loads of washing still pile up endlessly. In my humble opinion, its this 'grind' of motherhood can actually be a welcome distraction in times of stress and anxiety. Unlike others, we can't spend our day worrying and constantly checking online media for the latest report, because we have to get on with the day-to-day. Our children can actually be the thing that helps us get through this with our sanity in check - as long as we find ways to get through and limit the exposure of our children to stress.
Here are just a couple of small suggestions of how I manage stressful times in my house of 4 kids:
Stick to a routine. It can be tempting when you don't have a reason to leave the house to get out of routine. Sleep late. Eat at odd times. spend ages in front of the tv etc. But the thing is that kids respond really well to routine and it helps to focus my mind as well. Even if we are having an at-home day, we stick to a pretty tried and tested routine. What you do with your children will depend on their ages and stages, but try to have a plan for your day before you get up.
Have some outside time every day. This will of course depend on where you live, the weather and if you are in quarantine/self isolation. However, even if it is just time spent on your deck/balcony, in the backyard or going for a walk in the pram. Most of us Australians have the luxury of space to be able to spend some time outside without having to come into contact with anyone if we don't want to/can't. Both the kids and I respond really well to getting outside and I find that a short walk can really turn around a bad mood.
Get moving. Kids need to move their little bodies. whether it be inside or outside, kids aren't designed to sit still. This can be hard for us sometimes, particularly if we are used to sitting for long periods of time in an office. Some of the things we do to get moving inside are playing 'Just Dance' on the Nintendo, doing a kids yoga session from Cosmic Kids Yoga https://www.youtube.com/user/CosmicKidsYoga Orr just sticking on some music and having a dance party in the living room.
If all else fails, stick the kids in front of the tv/ipad and call a friend. We recently moved away from our family and friends and I can tell you that 15 mins on the phone with one of my favourite people is enough to restore me and get me through the next minute/hour/day. Those ladies know who they are and I coudn't do it without you guys xoxo
I'm not big into the idea of 'self care' or 'me time', because I feel like they're fairly unrealistic and indulgent 'first world' ideas, but the principal of them I get. You cannot pour from an empty cup - we have to manage our own stress in order to limit the stress and fear our children experience. Take care of yourself and support your fellow mums. We can get through stressful times together.
p.s. obviously a glass of wine after they go to bed is my other go to ;-)
The following websites seems to have some really good ideas if you or your child are still feeling overwhelmed: