Are we there yet? How much longer do we have to go?
These questions typically come from the back seat during road trips with your family. The longer the road trip, the more frequent the questioning, not to mention the added whining and grumbling.
This seemingly never ending Quarantine has many parents feeling like they are now in the back seat on a long road trip asking, “How much longer do we have to do this?” “When will this be over?” “Are we there yet?”
For many parents, the novelty of being home together has worn off and they find themselves feeling worn out. Quarantine Fatigue has begun to take hold – a result from juggling work responsibilities, home school monitoring, daily household duties, and breaking up arguments and fights. This is enough to leave any well intended, terrific parent fatigued. Let’s not forget, though we probably would like to, the global health concern.
Can you relate? How do you endure as leaders within your families? How can you guide your kids through this?
In order to endure, self-care is a must – albeit a challenging must (especially for parents with very little ones). Being creative about how you care for yourself will help you endure. Much like running a long race, it is important to pace yourself and refuel so you don’t break down. Here are some practical tips to refuel as a parent and to manage Quarantine Fatigue:
- Adjust your mindset, recognizing that healthy endurance is your goal. Pace yourself through each day.
- Explain to your kids what endurance is, the value it has in the real world (and for them as they grow up)
- Ask your kids and others living at home to actively help out and provide support
- Share household responsibilities with other family members (e.g., ask older kids to help out with meal preparation, cleaning up, helping their younger siblings with things like bedtime routine, picking up after themselves.)
- Positively reinforce your kids’ efforts at helping with day to day tasks that support endurance.
- Work with your kids to set up an ‘Endurance Jar’ – putting a marble or token in when providing support for the family
- This provides a nice concrete visual to your family on active efforts being made to endure
- Set up a reward once you reach a certain number of tokens
- Reach out to your boss / employer and seek support when needed – inform them of your goal to endure.
- You are juggling a lot every day and it is completely human to feel stressed, worn out, fatigued, and frustrated as a result.
- You are not a bad parent when you feel this way
- Remind yourself and your kids that feeling stressed and frustrated is normal part of enduring
- Identify your stress buttons / triggers – write them out
- Awareness will help you manage
- Share these buttons with your family and talk about support around them
- Identify one positive way you can cope with your stress
- Deep breathing (Google 4-7-8 breathing and diaphragmatic breathing – or provide a link here?)
- Social support is key to managing stress so don’t be afraid to reach out for support by calling a friend and / or family member.
- Practice cool downs or time outs for yourself
- Quick trip to the bathroom to chill out and remind yourself of the endurance goal
- If you have little ones, it may be during nap times or after bed time.
- Take action – whether it be going for a walk at night, watching a favorite show, or just a quick 10 minutes for yourself.
- Stay consistent with your daily and weekly plans / routines (for more info on Parent Planning, check out the following blog: https://www.valuesgrounded.com/quarantine-parenting-step-1-plan/)
- Set up a Quarantine Happy Hour with your friends & family. Celebrate your endurance accomplishments with others.
Recruiting your family to share in your efforts toward endurance builds solidarity and ‘family grit.’ It creates a sense of ‘we are all in this together and we will endure and get through it.’
Building endurance does not mean being perfect. Rather it involves a process of getting through tough and challenging life circumstances. This is a time where most parents’ mettle and endurance is being tested. Lean into your positive values to help you endure and stay the course (for more information on values within your family, check out the blog: https://www.valuesgrounded.com/step-3-teach-values-and-build-character/).