Our brains and bodies do not like change or uncertainty! The branch of our nervous system designed to keep us safe is switched on. All. The. Time...! As a community, many are feeling drained by the ongoing challenges associated with the lockdowns, home schooling and limited routine and variety in our daily life. In Melbourne, we have been in lockdown over 200 days! There continues to be uncertainty to the situation and how it will unfold which leads to a high level of stress and a drained battery. This is a sentiment that is resonating for many families we support.
We can not think or problem solve our way out of our current situation, and we have to accept things as they are. To help us navigate these times, we need to explore and experiment with practical strategies that work with our brain, body and nervous system to help us to re-charge our battery, nourish ourselves and build our resilience. These strategies are familiar to us all, however it's always helpful to reflect and review how you are incorporating these into your family timetable:
Move Daily!! This helps to discharge tension and release stress. Moving everyday in a preventative and proactive way.
Time in Nature - explore somewhere new and have an adventure.
Check in with our internal state - What is here today? What do I need today? Support your children to develop their self-awareness and check in. A battery analogy is a concrete way to help your child recognise their internal stress and energy level.
Breathe - extending our out breath - making it long and slow, moves us into the rest and restore branch of our nervous system. For children, blowing bubbles, whistles, feathers, pinwheels, cotton wool balls is a playful way to incorporate breathwork.
Now Moments - Anchor yourself in activities that allow you to be fully focussed and immersed in what you are doing and get into flow. Noticing where your thoughts are focussed and intentionally bringing them back to the present moment - trains our mind to move away from our default negative thinking.
Create a haven at home - Giving you and your family an environment of safety and comfort to help buffer stress. Have a conversation about what this looks like for each family member and work on making your home a haven.
Play - When stress rises, it is easy to forgot to play and have fun. Playfulness and humour are a powerful way to shift stress and anxiety and create close connections.
Be kind to yourselves. See each other through ''soft eyes'', as we all do the best we can with the skills we have and given our current stress load. Find moments for closeness and connection - safe and secure relationships are a tonic in these difficult times.