If your Facebook and Instagram feeds are like mine, they are full of people complaining about school from home. They are upset about having to work from home, and school from home. Some are worried about balancing their work, and maintaining their sanity.
Clearly these posts are from those who are overwhelmed and struggling.
Certainly, I get being stressed and overwhelmed. As a father of two kids who struggle, as the primary wage earner, caregiver, and accountable for many other’s careers, I get that stress. There’s more to do, we have to get very creative, resourceful, and somehow keep our cool. The daily balancing act of school, work, doctor appointments, staying healthy, and just being a family is more challenging right now.
However, at the same time, many of us are incredibly fortunate. We have plenty of food, shelter and clothing. We have dozens of entertainment options. Our families are generally healthy. We have some job security and emergency funds if the worse happens. We’re a lot better off than we realize.
So, instead of panic and self pity, we have an unique opportunity to help our families thrive right now.
The real issue here is that many have become stuck in panic, overwhelm and upset - or don’t yet have the coping skills for these new stressors.
Yes, many are stuck in fight/flight/freeze. In that mode, there are very limited options, and coping skills are non-existent. The ability to get creative, come up with solutions and move forward is literally turned off in our electric grid. This brain power outage is not a good place to stay.
Want to turn solutions back on and get to some resolve? Here are three ways to get going!
“Yeah, but this sucks and I don’t like it and it’s not fair.” Well, that’s interesting, but it’s not moving you forward. Notice how these statements feel in your body, and how it de-energizes you. They take away your power.
Instead, find at least three things to be grateful for - we all have thousands of these if we really look. Take the time to write these down for 10 minutes every morning. If you are reading this, you at least have some semblance of health, cognitive ability, electricity, and internet access. You probably have a lot more - those are just some starters if you are stuck.
Coming from a place of what you already have gives energy to the parts of your brain that help you solve problems.
You’ll notice an almost immediate shift in how you feel, and ideas for solutions will more easily flow. Start asking questions like “I wonder what creative ways we can solve this?”
2. For Others - Get Empathetic (pssst it helps you too)
While it can sound touchy/feely, there’s 50+ years of brain science to back this approach. Trust me, I was incredibly skeptical about this - until I did it and my kids absolutely soared.
Neuroscience and psychology experts at Harvard have found that empathy both helps with long-term coping skills and building new neural pathways - so you don’t need to stay stuck.
So, hearing someone out, and validating their perspective is a great way to start. Remember, this is not sympathy - you aren’t feeling sorry for them. You also don’t have to agree with them. You are just listening and validating their experience.
What you’ll also find is that your blood pressure and heart rate drop during this time - major bonus!
This can be especially helpful with your kiddos right now - remember they are still developing and do not yet have all the coping skills you do. They can’t just “get over it.” Crank your empathy up to 11 for them!
3. For Your Family - Make a Routine
Adding a simple routine in the morning (or every meal time) can help your whole family out.
Have each family member mention something they are thankful for. It can be small or large, but does need to change every meal. This variety is important.
Then, have every family member ask for help with something in their day. This may feel awkward at first, and that’s okay. You may need to help your kids identify things.
This can be anything from “staying calm” to “I have a big meeting” to “cleaning the bathroom” to “math”. Whatever it is - it’s right.
This simple routine is keeping your whole family out of fight/flight/freeze, and identifying ways you can help each other. Both are incredibly important in this challenging time.
To be clear, the challenges are there right now, and sometimes we all need extra help to get over them.
This is why I founded You From Home. It’s an evidence-based and science-backed way to get resilience for your family. Yes, you can take this difficult time and convert it for the biggest opportunity for your family. You can thrive.
To help you get a taste of what this can look like, join our free seminar. You’ll learn three more ways to thrive and serve your kids and yourself right now. The content is practical, and delivered from a parent who has had to overcome what we are all going through. You will get immediate use out of it.
And, if you want more help and an ongoing relationship with You From Home, we’ll tell you about ways we can serve you there too.
Special tip number four - when in doubt, dance with your kids.