by Lisa Reichelt, M.Ed, Parent Coach
Do you feel like you are having trouble “keeping your head about you” with all the changes happening right now? You’re not alone. Everyone affected by the chaos of lockdowns and distance learning changes are challenged. So how do you “keep your head about you” when you see so many others losing theirs? These words are from the poem “IF” by Rudyard Kipling and they inspired me to share some thoughts with you.
Recently my five-year old grandson was visiting. He loves to chat. As we were talking, he made an amazing comment, “Grandma, when the sickness is over, I want to go and visit your friend.” This may not seem so incredible to you but here’s what it spoke to me. He has HOPE. He is thinking about what will happen when the sickness is over. HOPE. He envisions a time when we won’t have to wear masks and stay away from one another. HOPE. I rarely hear adults speak of “when the sickness is over”. Do we adults have HOPE? I’d like to suggest that HOPE is the key to keeping your head about you.
Let’s use HOPE as an acronym.
H is for Home
How is your home a place of HOPE for your family? Maybe your family could start a list of the things you can’t wait to do when “the sickness” is over. Post your list on the refrigerator, add to it regularly. Gratitude is another way to experience hope. What are you grateful for? Thanksgiving is often a time when families share their gratitude, but what if you made it a more frequent routine? Each day at mealtime you could share things you were grateful for that day. You’ll be amazed at how that can change your outlook. Check out this article for more ideas. You’ll be keeping your head about you.
O is for Others
Everyone’s social life and extended family connections have been hampered by the pandemic. What have you and your family done for others? Research has shown that we are happiest when we are giving of ourselves to others. During the holiday season it is easy to find ways to get involved in the giving spirit. Look for something that can become a new tradition for your family. Since school is impacting many lives right now, perhaps there is a way your family can help another school family that is struggling with distance learning. Could your teenage tutor an elementary student? Could your elementary student record some picture book stories and share them with younger children? I bet your kids have some creative ideas.
P is for Pandemic
Keeping the pandemic in perspective will definitely help to keep your head about you. I recommend reading about other dramatic events in history and how people were able to live through them. Many young adult books describe the courage and hope that develops as the characters overcome the struggles that life has placed in their path. Here are a few suggestions: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. In the years to come, we will look back at the pandemic and talk about the lessons we learned and the difficulty we overcame. Will our children develop courage and perseverance? They can, if we guide them.
E is for Energy
Okay, I get it, all of this takes energy and you are exhausted. How do you re-energize? Each of us has different ways of re-invigorating ourselves. The key is to know how to help yourself. Personally, I am a list person. If I need to get motivated, I just make a list. I’m not sure why that helps, but it does. Exercise is another energy booster for many. If you don’t have an exercise habit, maybe it’s time to try it. You could start easily with walking, yoga, or a simple stretching routine.
Others find that scheduled brain breaks help give them motivation to begin anew. If that works for you, put those times into your schedule and don’t neglect it. Soaking in a tub of sudsy water can also work wonders to wash away stress. Could this work for you? If you don’t have a clue what will help you get more energy, then it’s time to choose a few options and give it a try. Taking care of yourself is the first step to increasing your energy level and helping you keep your head about you.
Let’s all join my grandson in hoping that “the sickness” will be over soon and we can get back to our normal life. In the meantime, cultivate HOPE in your life. It will do you a world of good.
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