5 Insights from Sheltering at Home
We are strained beyond what we ever imagined. Initially, a lot of C – words described it: chaotic, confusing, conflicting, crowded, and cranky. With a bit of time, we’ve added some P -words: painful, panic, persevering, poised, and power.
- We’re not at Hogwarts, so there is no wand waving. Take a moment to figure out what you need and ask for it (or make it happen.) Teach those in your house to consider their needs while being realistic about what is possible during this pause. Asking for what you need makes it much more likely you will get it. You ask your mate to quit whistling while working across the table from you, your daughter asks to go for a run, and your son needs a snack between Zoom lessons. Make your needs known nicely to those who can make them happen.
- The pen is mightier than the sword. Many teachers have assigned daily journaling. I love this idea, and I think each of us could find time to write down our feelings and activities. Include gratitude by adding three good things that happened each day. Connecting with what we are grateful for dials up the positive and leaves us feeling more in control. In the future, you and your kids, too, can read about how you each experienced that time when the world stood still in 2020.
- Reality sucks. We have suffered significant losses that we need to acknowledge and talk about. It’s not emotionally healthy to stay hunkered under a brewing thunderstorm that emits anxiety and fear. It’s also not helpful to dismiss concerns by saying ‘this too shall pass’ or ‘it’s hard for all of us.’ The better option is to listen and validate feelings with compassion and empathy. Our kids need to know we feel their pain. They are missing out, and it’s not fair. We need to take care of ourselves by connecting with our tribe members who will listen and give us emotional support as well as bursts of joy, love, and ideas.
- We had no muscle memory for sheltering at home, but we are getting better. We looked at our actions and decided if they were helping or hurting. We stopped inhaling the news 24-7, we appreciate humor more and avoid the negative ranters. Rather than fighting a battle, we discovered ways to balance our working from home with our children learning from home. We’re fussing less and sanitizing more. It turns out we are more resilient than we thought.
- Your adolescent’s purpose in life is to individuate. This means separating from us and finding their own meaning, beliefs, and identity. Sheltering at home completely interrupts this growth cycle. These days they are likely to feel overwhelmed, lost, and stifled by the lack of autonomy and freedom. We can help by understanding their plight. No matter that ours is the same.
Living this limited life with no end-date is complicated for us and more grueling for our adolescents. They have fewer coping skills and resources. We need to remind ourselves and our kids that we will get through this together for the greater good. We’ll be stronger in the end.
We’re in this together,