Turning a to-do list into a ta-da list, reaching out to other parents instead of bottling up and swapping out the doom and gloom on the news for your favourite series on Netflix are just a few ways for parents to take care of their mental health during these trying times.
Kev Scheepers knows this pandemic has been a challenging time for parents. He said: “There is a lot of pressure on parents at the moment, from looking after their kids and their online learning to managing their careers while also making sure the house doesn’t fall apart.”
“There is a lot to think of and it can feel like parents are having to spin many plates at once. Many will find it very overwhelming at times and it is only natural that parents will start being tough on themselves.”
“Someone needs to be out there telling parents it’s okay if they can’t tick off every item on their to-do list, it’s okay not to feel okay all the time and it’s okay to take time out for some self-care. Parents, you are doing a great job so don’t be so tough on yourself… you are not alone.”
Kev has put together the following self-care guide for parents whose workload is leaving them feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.
#1 Ditch the to-do list
While to-do lists are great for keeping track of what needs to be done, they can have a negative effect on your mood if you fail to get a task done.
Instead of writing out what needs to be done, write a ta-da list. When you do something whether it be setting up your kid’s online lesson or doing the laundry or simply sending that email you’ve been putting off… write it down as an accomplishment. At the end of the day you will find yourself feeling better about what you have done rather than what you failed to do.
#2 Treat yourself to a takeaway
This doesn’t have to be every day but having something as simple as a takeaway to look forward to at the end of a long, difficult and testing week could be just what you need.
It is important to reward yourself with something you enjoy and your ordering your favourite food can be a serious mood-booster. With so much on your plate, you’ve earned it.
#3 Don’t be afraid to talk to others
Talking to other parents, or joining online support groups on Facebook is a great way to gain a wider perspective on your situation. Asking for help and working together on your problems will have better results and make you feel more positive about each day knowing you have support. Parents are all in the same boat facing similar problems so it is best to pull together.
#4 Do something for you
Although it can be difficult to find some time for you in the busy schedule, even a short 10 minute break every couple of hours to reconnect with something you love doing can be very beneficial to your mental wellbeing. Whether your hobby is knitting or even just enjoy the refreshed feeling that comes with a nice hot shower.
Go further than that by seeking help from Kev Scheepers directly. Life coaching is a great investment into yourself as it can improve your outlook on life and provide you with the tools to approach life’s obstacles, even ones at home.
#5 Give yourself a break from the news
There is little positivity to find on the news at the moment and listening to the doom and gloom continuously will have a direct negative effect on your mental health and wellbeing. Take some time out and put on a show that you enjoy instead. Netflix has a whole arsenal of series to binge! Watch an episode a night after the kids are put to bed – having something positive to look forward to at the end of the day will boost your morale and make each day a little bit easier.
#6 Ditch the guilt
There is a great strain on parents who feel they need to give their kids the best of everything and this is not always possible! It is only natural to feel guilty if you feel you are not doing a good enough job but in reality you are. Seeking reassurance from a loved one or writing a gratitude journal are both great ways to manage feelings of guilt positively.
#7 Virtual play dates
Arranging a virtual play date with an activity over Zoom would be a great opportunity for your children to socialise with their friends and will also be a great opportunity for you to have some much needed time to yourself. Fun activities like finger painting, charades, pictionary or heads-up are both easy to set up and engaging for your children.
#8 Chores can be fun too
It is hard to keep on top of housework when working from home and homeschooling the kids at the same time. Getting your children involved in the housework can take some of the strain off your shoulders and also give you some time for yourself too. Chores do not have to be boring and turning them into a fun activity like a competition or a scavenger hunt would be a great way to get your children to help out.
#9 Share the burden of homeschooling
Be resourceful! If you have a family member or friend who is particularly good at a certain subject then ask for their help and get them to work with your children over a Zoom call. This will give you a chance to do something for you in the meantime and your relative might enjoy it and appreciate the company, particularly if they are living alone.
#10 Stay engaged with technology
There is a lot of support to be found online. Navigating through the vast variety of online learning platforms and websites can be overwhelming so find one you like and stick to it. Get familiar with the one site and understand how it works. This way you can feel confident your kids are learning from a credible source; supporting you with your homeschooling and giving you a chance to take the load off while they complete online activities.
About Kev – Kevin Scheepers is a personal growth specialist who has dedicated his life to finding the tools and techniques in order to gain an optimal understanding of mindfulness, the body and the environment. He offers one-to-one coaching and guidance to his clients that covers all aspects of life. Go to kevsheepers.com to find out more.