In March, our world turned upside down. Like a snow globe that you shake and watch as the snowfall settles down, we are still waiting for our “snow” to touch the ground. Meanwhile, we have had to shift gears with very little preparation and guidance. This “new normal” has been especially hard for parents whose children were unable to attend school in person.
Most of us assumed that by September, the pandemic would be behind us and we would be returning to normal, including sending our kids back to school. Sadly, this is not the case, and it is time to accept that we will be living in this “new normal” for a while longer. To make this “new normal” work for you, try these four tips below:
• Create routines. Establish daily routines around meals, homework, sleep and exercise. Do not treat this time as a vacation when routines are tossed aside. Instead, go about your life as if it were last September and schedule yourself accordingly.
• Build in family fun time. If your family is like many others, tempers are flaring, moods are swinging, and tension is growing. To counteract this anxiety, set up fun activities to do safely with your kids. Baking, puzzles, and arts and crafts are easy go-to activities. Plan them into your day and week.
• Give yourself some down time. So many parents are juggling professional obligations with house- hold tasks while trying to “home” school the children. Enough! You cannot do it all, 24/7. Pencil in time for yourself. A soak in the tub. A run around the block. A chapter in a good book. If you are co-parenting, trade off this downtime with your co-parent. If you are a single parent, trade off with a neighbor or family member (masks required!)
• Finally, reach out for help. Psychologists are offering teletherapy services now which means you can do a session via telephone or video chat. Take advantage of these services. It helps to have someone other than a friend or spouse to talk about how you are feeling during this difficult time.
By Dr. Sheila Forman