I’ve been looking back at the blog I wrote during the first lockdown. A lot of people at the time were seeing it as an opportunity to spend quality time with their family and some were putting themselves under enormous pressure to provide a fantastic experience for their children. I wrote about trying to remember that we only have to be “good enough” and that we had an opportunity to model an authentic response to managing uncertainty for our children. It all feels very different now that we are in our third lockdown! We are fatigued, fearful, drained and overwhelmed at the prospect of home schooling yet again.
What can we do to cope? There are certainly some practical steps we can take. The basics still ring true- regular exercise, a good sleep routine, nutritious food and choosing what to let go of that’s not essential. It’s helpful for children to keep to basic routines, get outside in the fresh air, keep work divided in to manageable chunks and spend time playing and relaxing, especially if parents can find some time to join in with them. It’s a time to choose our battles carefully and not get bogged down with the minutiae of life. Perspective helps, too. I recently read an article by someone who missed four years of schooling because of civil war and they had managed to go on to university despite the disruption. There will be chances to get back on track in the future.
The emotional strain is perhaps the most difficult aspect of the current situation. It’s as if we need a bigger container to cope with the overwhelming feelings many of us are experiencing. Like an overcrowded lifeboat, our own resources may not be big enough to take the strain. Nowis the time to reach out to others so that we can increase our collective resources. We may not be able to meet in person, but reaching out to connect and allowing our vulnerability to be seen are ways in which we can provide each other with the nurture and care that we all need now, more than ever. We are not really back to square one, although it may feel like it. There is a way out coming via the vaccination programme. We just need to keep looking out for each other and take these authentic and empathic connections with us into the future that awaits.