Parenting Yourself During a Pandemic
Are you like me? Sometimes you feel weary from this situation we find ourselves in. Weary from the news, the constant change, the lack of normalcy (or what used to feel normal - like going to a restaurant or inviting friends over). Weary from wearing masks, staying six feet apart and feeling like others can get you sick. Weary from trying to keep your kids safe, your elderly parents safe. Is it getting old?
When you are feeling some or all of these feelings it can be hard to parent our adolescent girls with all of their big feelings and expressive thoughts. That is where you parenting you comes in, so that you have some reserve, patience and kindness to offer your kids while going through this trying time.
Here are few tips to help you parent you:
- Make alone time a priority. Alone time can look like anything that feels like a break for you…even a 1- minute break. Sometimes we need to be alone to take a breather. We have all had a lot of togetherness lately and that can stress our nerves.
- Breathe. Slow deep breaths with your eyes closed, I have found it to be one the fastest ways to soothe and calm myself and my clients. It quickly relaxes your muscles and you feel your body sink down and unwind. Here are a few different easy ways to breathe for stress reduction.
- Notice the good. Say out loud or write down daily one thing you are proud or happy about when it comes to your parenting. You can expand this and write down one thing that you are happy about regarding your life, your work, your health, your partnership. This trains your brain to look for the good. Seeing what you are feeling good about helps you to feel good! Easy peasy!
- Tapping. I took 15 minutes this morning to do some tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique). Here is one of my favorite EFT teachers, Nick Ortner, showing us how to relieve stress in a few minutes with this ancient method of tapping on our meridian points which sends a calming message to our brains and our bodies.
- Go outside. Take a 20-minute nature pill to lower your stress hormone levels. Sit in your backyard. Walk in your neighborhood. Watch how much better you feel in minutes. Nature is rad that way!
- Talk to your people. Share what’s on your mind and your heart with your partner/spouse, your bestie, your therapist or your coach (like me!). Get your worries out of your mind. Stop carrying them around and ruminating. Let the supports in your life help you carry your load.
- Ask for a hug. As I tell my teen, hugs heal. Need I say more? :)
- Move your body. We have a 3-mile loop around our lake here in Austin. I make it a regular habit to walk among the trees and water while listening to my favorite podcasts. Putting energy into moving our bodies can help to clear our minds and physically remove the anxiety we carry in our bodies. How did you like to move as a kid? Even if it is a 10-minute walk outside, jumping on your kid’s trampoline, swinging in the swing in your local park or hula-hooping, it all counts toward mental health!
- Incorporate play. Let your inner child come out. Laugh. Be silly. Watch a funny show. Play a game. Do something you liked as a child – color, bake, paint, sing, dance, bike, eat a hotdog or a ding-dong.
- Take a mini retreat. If you have the help and resources this can be a game changer. Once a quarter I book a night away (It doesn’t have to be a night away; It could be four hours in a beautiful, peaceful spot like your local nature center) from my family at a tiny resort with four casitas in the hill country of Texas. I bring books, my journal, a list of questions to prompt myself and engage in self-exploration and, of course, a super girly rom-com to enjoy. I arrive home with a big smile, lots more patience and knowing more clearly what I want and need in my life.
Commit to being kind to yourself. Commit to being compassionate and patient with yourself. Be the best parent to yourself that you can. It will help you feel better and help you be an even better parent to your girls.
It is my joy to help parents of tween/teen girls. I am here for you. Contact me if you would like support.