Being under one roof with every family member can cause stress for all involved. With the lockdown in place for a few more weeks, everyone will be feeling that cabin fever. Rather than having this tension cause rifts among family members, we can take steps to release some of that tension. Whether you are sheltering in place by yourself or with your family, the following tips can be useful in coping with the circumstances.
It is important to take time for your children and your spouse or significant other. There could be planned activities for children or planned “date nights”, but it is just as important to find time for yourself. You can exercise outside or take 5 minutes to listen to some music or video chat with friends or family. Even though it may not seem necessary, having a scheduled bedtime will ensure you feel energized and ready for the next day. It will also help you and your family maintain a routine. This routine also ties into having healthy eating habits. By eating right and having enough sleep, it will help your energy levels throughout the next day and help to ease stress.
If you are sheltering with an infant or young child, there will be days that parenting may feel very overwhelming. If the child is constantly crying, try using these tips for tears: Ensure the child does not need to be fed or is thirsty. Check to see if their diaper needs to be changed or if they need to be burped. Sometimes you can do all of these things, but the child will continue to cry. If you feel that you are becoming frustrated or angry, put the child down in a safe sleep environment (a crib or Pack n’ Play) and step away for a minute. You can still have a monitor or video to keep an eye on your child, but you should take a break to calm down. If you find yourself having a challenging time with your child, call a friend or family member to help you. There are also parent resources at Indiana 211.
Other stress management tips include engaging in yoga or mindfulness activities. Yoga has been found to reduce stress in many people. If you cannot find the time to do yoga by yourself, there are many youth-friendly yoga videos that can be engaging for both you and your child. Mindfulness activities can help with being present in the here and now. These activities can be done is as little as 3-minutes. Lastly, various breathing techniques have some of the same effects of mindfulness and helps you to be present in the moment and aware of what is occurring around you.
These tips for stress management can be helpful for some, but not for others. The trick to stress management is finding what works best for you. Whether that is yoga or running, it is important to schedule in that time for yourself to participate in activities you enjoy. This is already a difficult time we are living in and we have to be aware of our emotions and take those steps to help our stress so that we do not become too overwhelmed. For more resources, check out our Facebook page here, or our website at www.pcain.org
–Prevent Child Abuse Indiana Team
Couturier, K. Yoga for Everyone. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/beginner-yoga
Pulido, M. L. (2020, March 12). Family Stress Relief During the Corona Virus Outbreak. Medium. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@mpulido_47600/family-stress-relief-during-the-corona-virus-outbreak-by-mary-l-pulido-ph-d-4ebfe639343e