Wellness Corner: A Review of Last Week's Conversation
Our parent conversation began with a collective sense of belonging as Mercersburg Academy parents. We also framed the conversation around normal feelings of grief and loss, worry, frustration, and validation for what it’s like to be a parent during quarantined times. We explored grief stages and how they apply to what we are all experiencing, both adults and teenagers.
Parents are clearly trying to juggle full-time work at home, oversight of virtual school, and keeping an eye on emotional wellness and connection of family members. This is not an easy task when many parents are feeling unmoored as well. Parents talked to one another about the amount of time children are staying in their rooms and how to manage new sleep cycles (since some teens are now staying up late to connect with friends online). Other concerns surrounded potential low moods due to missing friends and struggles with online learning. All of the parents were appropriately sad and worried about how to fill time this summer since everything has been canceled. Some students are doing just fine, though not being able to have a proper goodbye for the end of the school year is unfortunate.
The initial reserves we relied on at the beginning of this pandemic have, for most, been spent and, therefore, airing concerns with one another seemed to offer comfort. Taking time to pause, reset, and listen to one another during this time is a start. Silence at home may also turn out to be a new experience in which to adjust and enjoy.
Here are a few actionable steps for keeping sane and healthy:
- Identify your feelings first, so you can be attuned and compassionate to your family members (this is important for secure parent/child attachment).
- Empower yourself with quick methods to self regulate: adequate sleep, healthy diet, intentional focus on breathing with a long exhale (saying RELIEF), exercise, paring down sources of news information.
- Own your feelings and be accountable. It’s okay to be upset, but not okay to blow up or blame others (apologize when needed).
- Model different choices of behavior if you feel overwhelmed, and speak about it if you are low on energy (create a “family gap plan” if everyone is tapped out and there is a need to help each other).
- Name your fears, but chose wisely with whom you speak (they may have heightened fears that can worsen yours).
- Don’t chastise yourself for worrying—all feelings are valid.
- Help your children identify their body’s warning signs when they are anxious or upset (fight or flight responses can be calmed with breath exercises and a long exhale).