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There's no denying that two years into the pandemic, many of us are feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, spent. Whatever word you use, the end result is we are stretched thin and have very little to give. One area of concern I often hear from parents is wanting to give more to their child but not having anything left as they are barely holding it together. If you are such a parent, read on for some tips on being able to hold it together.
1) Acknowledge that you don't feel safe - Let's face it, questions like - do I or my kid have COVID? Will my child(ren) be in person or virtual next week? Can we go visit our family and friends? - is anxiety provoking and draining. This constant questioning comes from the unpredictability of our situation right now. This same unpredictability make us feel threatened and/or unsafe, which in turn can often spark feelings of anger, sadness and fear. And chances are if you are feeling this way, your child may also feel the same. So first step, acknowledge that you are feeling what many other human beings are feeling - scared and unsafe.
2) Identify and Name your Emotion - identifying and naming how you feel can be extremely helpful in being able to "keep it together." As adults, we often don't allow ourselves to pay attention to how we feel and fess up to it. I'm talking about feelings like sad, mad, scared and worried - core emotions we all experience as humans. Engaging in distracting responsibilities like work, school, cleaning, etc., is something we often do to ignore how we feel. Unfortunately, doing so ultimately does a disservice to your mind, body and spirit.
3) Express Yourself - another key to holding it together, is ironically enough, letting your feelings out. Doing so can look like talking about your feelings to someone who can validate you instead of dismissing you. It can also look like energetically releasing the emotion. In other words, do you slam something or scream when you are angry? Cry, sing or lounge around when you are sad?
Expressing your feelings verbally or physically can be a great way to make sure your feelings don't get stuck. Not sure where to get started? I often recommend hitting pillows, couches or beds with a pool noodle. Squeeze the heck out of a squishy ball. Do you our your child have fidget toys? If so, feel free to play with any fidget that may be throwable and squeezable. These often can be used to release anger.
For feelings of sadness, try staying in your pj's/comfy clothes all day, order in, and/or indulge in your favorite show. This last one can be done with or without your child - whatever allows you to feel connected with yourself. Need a good cry? Cue up the music that makes you ball and have a good deep cry. Journaling your emotions can also help with feelings of sadness and anger.
In summary, this time we are in truly sucks! There is so much unpredictability and when we don't know what to expect, it messes with our sense of safety. Aside from getting triggered, let's not forget the parent guilt that hovers over us especially when we see our child(ren) suffering. As a human who is caring for another human be kind to yourself and know that being able to take time to read this blog shows you are already on the path of "keeping it together".
I wish you strength and compassion on your parenting journey.
Thank you for reading.
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