We live in a world rife with anxiety, depression, and turmoil. Individual circumstances placed upon a backdrop of COVID-19, different schooling situations, and political tensions has made 2020 a tumultuous year for many. I have received many emails about helping our families defuse some of the tension and stress surrounding this year, so I wanted to share a few ideas with you all today.
One of the first and basic things that I find helpful is to shore up any kind of loose rhythm that works for your family. This provides structure and stability even if we don’t feel as if we have it in us to give. A simple rhythm could be a warm breakfast, school with breaks or work around the home, a reading or art time, a warm lunch, rest time, outside time and movement, warm dinner and a warm bath, turning lights off and “putting the house” to sleep and bedtime.
Warmth is an important consideration in these times, both physically in warming foods and clothing appropriate for your area, but also in emotional tone. A peaceful, attentive, and loving tone can be difficult to transmit to children when we ourselves are feeling completely stressed and depleted. Coming up with our own rhythm of self care is vitally important during these times. This can be as simple as remembering to eat, and going to bed at a normal hour. It can be stepped up with a walk outside, yoga or stretching, listening to music that makes you smile, connecting with people in whatever way you can safely, setting a timer on your phone to drink water or meditate or pray.
Trying to keep tension away from children in the home can be very difficult, but one thing to consider is cutting down the negative influences streaming into your home, whether this is on the news, social media, people who stress more than bless, etc. Trying to protect yourself so you can be all that your family needs is okay! It is okay to have boundaries and be selective as to what things honestly give you energy and what people and things drain you.
In times like this, working with the hands is often soothing. Gardening, even in containers, is satisfying, as is making bread by hand, fermenting foods, cleaning and polishing, setting up bird feeders and making suet or pine cone bird feeders. Handwork can be helpful – small children can roll balls of yarn and finger knit, older children can knit, crochet, sew. There are always things like window stars to make or window transparencies which can be a lot of fun for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.
Stories for small children that have a protective element to them in the vein as The Mitten by Jan Brett are very healing, or finding a wonderful story that the entire family can listen in on is also helpful.
The small things that seem the most ordinary can be the most healing for this time and place. Holding warmth and stability can heal our families, one by one in our own homes and then we can then send that love out into the world.
Blessings and peace,