I've spent the last 8 years of my life running Lime Lace, whilst juggling being a wife & mother of 3. Although it has been very rewarding, the life of an entrepreneur can sometimes be a lonely place, so when I discovered a local group of fellow female entrepreneurs it was like a breath of fresh air. I have met some really inspiring women from all walks of life, including Anisa Lewis who is a fabulous positive parenting coach. Here Anisa offers her advice on how to cope with self isolating during the COVID-19 crisis:
We are living through a time that will go down in history, we are not being asked to go and fight in a war. We are simply (and I use this word loosely as there is nothing simple about it) being asked to stay at home.
As an introvert being asked to stay at home is music to my ears, I imagine extroverts are finding it a little tougher. Navigating change is hard and we are in a period of great change, we are also at a wonderful cross roads where you can make the decision as to what you take with you from your ‘old’ life onto the other side when lockdown has been lifted and this is all over and perhaps what can stay buried in the past.
How do you cope when you are being asked to do 3 or 4 full time jobs all at the same time? A parent, an employee, running your own businesses, a house keeper, a personal trainer, an artist and a chef and still being able to show up for yourself. My simple (yes, there is that word again!) answer is you can’t! Something has to give.
Here are 3 of my top tips to help you through this uncertain time as we hunker down and stay at home to keep our families and communities safe.
Tip 1 – fit your own oxygen mask first
The airlines have it right in their safety briefings before the flights take off; you need to fit your own oxygen mask first before you fit masks to those around you. You are the one navigating your families ship right now and unless you are in a good place it makes it incredibly hard to look after and support others. I am also fully aware that finding time for yourself in a day right now is hard, your family are with you 24/7, social distancing needs to be respected and time outside is limited to once per day other than use of your own gardens. It might also be that like me, you or your partner is a key worker and you are living with the stress of them going out to the community to serve others. My husband works for the emergency services so we are living this with you.
Here are some ideas that might help you find some time to put yourself first:
- Taking a bath (I am an Aussie and can’t imagine anything worse than a bath but I know this is very British and it brings so much joy to those that love a good bath!)
- Getting up before the kids
- Doing some exercise
- Finding small moments in the day to take some deep breaths (in through the nose and out through the mouth)
- Teach your kid(s) to massage your feet!
- Do something you love
- Teach yourself a new skill that you have always wanted to do
- Read (I never found time for reading before the lock down and now I am already onto my 4th book as I am going to bed an hour earlier in order to read, bliss)
- Before you sleep at night and your first thoughts upon waking, list 3 things you are grateful for
- Giving yourself permission to lay on your bed for 5 minutes at say 2.00pm in the afternoon for no other reason than you need to regroup, recharge and stop
- Listening to a guided meditation or an audio book or a podcast
- Learn a language (I am loving this, 10 minutes a day I go onto an app called Duolingo and am learning Spanish!)
- Put a sign on the door and get your family to leave you alone!
- Have systems in your home that mean your family knows what is going on so do not have to ask you if it is time for them to watch tv or have a snack
- Have a time at the end of the day, morning, afternoon or a specific activity etc. where everyone tidies up, freeing your space from clutter helps your mind remain calm
Tip 2 – Create a rhythm and flow to your day or week
We all thrive on routine; our kids included, predictable pattern to our days, a flow.
I have personally found that if my day is so rigid in structure it sets me up for failure for other people knowing that they go for a walk at 1.00pm and they have their tea at 5.30pm is what brings them comfort. Only you will know what is right for you and your families.
A great place to start is to gather your family together, discuss, hear each other’s voices what do you want to include in your daily routine? What is not important to you right now? Decide on a way forward together. You need your kids buy in other wise you are going to come up against hurdles that could in time lead to emotions over flowing.
I would also encourage you to start as you mean to go on, it takes on average 21 days to establish a routine or new pattern so if at first you don’t succeed keep it going for another few days!
It might be that you have been experimenting with a routine over the last few weeks and now it is the Easter holidays things have not had a chance to establish themselves. Be prepared to go back to your routine to tweak, to amend and to change if needed. It might be that not everyone in your home has the same flow to their day but there are common points that are the same, for example meal times.
You may wish to include these common elements in everyone’s routine:
- Start of the day – what do they need to do? Bed made? Teeth? Screen time? Hair? Dressed? Breakfast? Gratitude’s? Exercise? Chores?
- Morning – what are the expectations? Home Learning? Life Learning? Exercise? Screen time? Snack time? Chores?
- Afternoon – is this a bit more go with the flow? Life learning? Screen learning? Movie time? Quiet time? Nap time? Exercise? Garden exploring? Snack time? Chores?
- Evening – What would you like everyone to do? Come together as a family? Meal time? Screen Time? Family time? Bedtime routines?
Even if you have decided to not home school (which is completely ok), I would encourage your family to create a weekly rhythm so your kid(s) know what is expected of them.
I am going to put this in capitals for its importance, DO NOT FEEL GUILTY for allowing your kids more screen time at the moment.
Tip 3 – Lower your expectations
Don’t try to do it all, many of you will also need to try and fit work into the mix and although I view you all as superheroes your wellbeing is important.
Lower your expectations and give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you are feeling which if you are anything like me might be a whole rainbow of emotions during the day and across the week.
Lowering expectations does not mean that your kids are permitted to run riot through your home but more that on a ‘normal’ day pre C-19 when you wrote your things to do list and you had 10 items on it to get through that day, perhaps during this time only put 3 things on it and then if you do more add them on so you can feel the satisfaction of crossing them off!
Life is moving at a different pace during lockdown and one that we are unlikely to ever have again. Cut yourself some slack, everyone has off days, everyone has days where things are flowing and so will our kids. It is about keeping communication open with our loved ones so they know where you are at; don’t leave them guessing use ‘I-messaging’, ‘I feel X because of Y’. How can we move forward together? What I am going to do is…
We are all navigating this period of change and coping with something we never in our lifetime thought we would have to. We really are in this together, keep communication open, reach out to friends, family, find small ways to connect with your families and give yourself permission to feel all the feels.
Keep health, stay safe and looking forward to seeing you all on the other side when this is all a distant memory.