Congratulations to us all…two weeks of official lockdown are behind us
To be exact, it’s been three weeks of stay-at-home since schools closed down. What an achievement! (who would have thought we’d ever have to celebrate such a feat)
By now we will all have adapted to indoor confinement with various degrees of success – however we may define success for ourselves – and with previous comfort patterns no longer relevant, we’ve all had to carve out new parameters for our family lives to evolve in.
If you haven’t yet implemented some of these strategies in your home, you might find a couple of our suggestions useful.
Stop talking about corona virus all the time
Remember the never-ending news cycles about Brexit? Climate change? War in Syria? Migrant crisis? They don’t seem so important to the media anymore now, do they? Yet they all remain out there, none of these issues have suddenly gone away. There’s still more to life than the coronavirus. As much as possible, try to maintain a sense of new-normal in your home. Not just for your own personal mental health, but it helps provide a sense of stability and consistency for your children, no matter their age. We’ve mentioned the importance of limiting our use of social media in order to keep all that negativity and confusion out of our hearts. The same actually applies to the TV news channels, especially the overly dramatic ones. The situation is bad, and it will get worse before it gets better. As far as this virus is concerned, we don’t need anyone telling us over and over again.
Yes, school is important, but there’s more to life than that
If you have the privilege of your children being schooled online, you’re probably already in some sort of a set morning frame. Home schooling is undoubtedly filled with its very own multitude of new challenges…but let’s not get into those…just remember that children across the world are being kept home, a large number of them will fall behind academically, fact. The schools are aware and will adjust the course accordingly. It doesn’t matter so much right now, honestly. Let’s use the time to also teach our offspring the much lacking life skills. How to boil an egg, cook pasta, make a bed, change a tyre, sew on a button, manage our money – the list is endless, and these topics are just as important (if not more so!). Recap on the day, give everyone a chance to say what they liked and disliked, use the info to shape an improved tomorrow.
Everyone needs Me Time and personal space
No matter how much love there is to go around in your household, being on top of each other 24/7 can become ‘interesting’ for any family. Even more so if you haven’t got the added space of a balcony or garden, and/or have multiple children but not enough rooms for everyone to retreat to for a little privacy. Why not assign each member of your household a specific area in your home that’s exclusive to them, a safe space they can use if they do not want to communicate and prefer to be alone? For younger kids this can be a ‘cave’ under the dining room table, a ‘tent’ pitched over the bathtub or anything else that works for you. Time to let them get really creative and respect their choices, however crazy they seem to you.
Once the ‘novelty’ of home isolation wears off, establish a new routine
Who doesn’t love a pyjama day or two (or more)?! Pure bliss. Constant munching and grazing?! Bring it on. Maybe a wineglass, cocktail, beer or two? Or three? Yep. But about that…weeks into the lockdown, this really should stop for the sake of our mental and physical health. A structured day is an important contributor to feeling in control, despite the fact that nothing much is up to us anymore. Once you’ve binged on the new-found freedom from the alarm clock, timetables and to-do-lists (in case you’re not working from home), find a new routine to suit the needs of everyone in the family. The best way to do this is together. Brainstorm, prioritise and decide how to move forward, so that everyone’s basic needs are met. Determine a group hour every evening where one of you is in charge of entertainment and gets to pick the game to play, movie to watch or music to listen to – together.
Bend the old screen time rules and pick your battles
Let’s face it, screen time restrictions that worked in BC times (aka Before Corona) cannot be considered reasonable today. Online schooling already adds a considerable amount of computer hours to our children’s daily lives. Don’t feel guilty about allowing more online entertainment than you would normally – it’s not their fault that the quota is reached so quickly. Instead, maybe (if needed) fun screen time could be used as a positive motivator or reward for your kids’ morning class efforts. If you haven’t done so yet, research new websites, educational games and online courses for them to use productively. The internet is awash with free stuff like never before. Unusual times call for unusual methods, and as soon as our movement restrictions are lifted, the weather will be fantastic for spending entire days outdoors again. Save your sanity for the more important stuff that possibly needs addressing – whatever this may be in your home.
Make it memorable for the right reasons
This staying at home thing has to be considered a marathon in order to shift our mindsets out of a passive mode into an empowered one. You can finally learn Greek! Take that online course! Read that book! Learn to play the guitar that’s been in the corner all these years! Blablabla? Yes, it’s not all rosy. Because if we’re truly honest, when we finally emerge at the end of this tunnel, nothing will ever be as it was in this world. We’re living history, writing the pages of tomorrow’s chronicles, living a bit of the future even. And while the global economy will be redefined, some of us will lose our jobs and have to find new ways to sustain a living. But then again, ‘different’ can also become ‘better’. Give your lockdown a soundtrack and dance.
A note on what to do if nothing works
Should your personal circumstances be of a nature that makes this lockdown period mentally or physically unbearable to you, it is vital to remember none of this is your fault. Do not be ashamed or blame yourself. Please, please find the strength deep within you to ask for help. Take your phone to the toilet or bathroom for a personal moment if you can, and get in touch with these confidential helplines
Cyprus Samaritans phone 80 00 77 73
Domestic Violence phone 1440
Children and Teenagers until 18 years phone 116 111