How to stay sane in the face of adversity

ways to stay sane Jan 05, 2021

We are going through hugely stressful situations. 

The worst many of us will have ever experienced and yet we still have a choice.

We can get into a vicious cycle of feeling negative, irritated by our children and then snapping at them for the tiniest thing. 

They then feel unloved and judged and will often react by behaving badly.

Or we can choose to respond more positively.  It makes the whole family feel so much better. 

Not only is negativity bad for the family but there is a huge amount of evidence to show that stress depletes the immune system and we all need strong immune systems at the moment so it is vital to try to change our mindset.

What parents typically do is try to do too much

We strive for perfection

We set ourselves an impossible standards to meet and then feel like failures when we don't meet them

The result is so often we crack.

Is this familiar to you? You try to juggle so many balls at once – compare yourselves to other 'perfect' families who seem manage home-schooling with no issues and have children who don't squabble or refuse to tidy up?

Of course it is tough to manage work calls, cooking, food shopping, cleaning, keeping the peace between squabbling children but there are ways you could help yourself feel calmer.

Self-care and managing our mindset aren't just a 'nice to have' or 'I'll try it when I have time', it really is vital to make it a priority. So here are my top tips: 

  1. Before you go to sleep listen to soothing music, an app with a meditation or just spend a few minutes in silence. My great friend Lauren Bear has a wonderful podcast full of 10 minute guided meditations – Search Meditation Alchemy with Lauren Bear on podcast platforms (any problems send me an email and I’ll find the link)
  2. Do a simple breathing exercise count to 4 as you breathe in, hold for 4, count to four as you breathe out then hold for 4. Do it for five minutes each day.
  3. Write a daily list of 10 things you are grateful for – tiny little things like ‘I sat down with a cup of coffee’, ‘I watched a video clip that made me laugh’. It is hard to get to 10 but the more you do it, the easier it gets.
  4. Text these things to a friend. Then you inspire them too.
  5. Let some things go – if you are a neat-freak then practice shutting the door on a messy room or train yourself to look away when you spot mess.
  6. Take part in an online exercise class at least twice a week. I really like ‘Daily Burn’ but there are so many out there now and lots of them are free. Look on you tube or see my  friend Jane Wake janewake.com for some fantastic online classes.
  7. Food – try to make sure you sit down to eat and have as much fresh vegetables and fruit as you can every day. Think swaps – swap a biscuit for an oatcake and peanut butter. Swap crisps for carrot and hummus.
  8. Make sure you stay connected with friends – could you have a ‘facetime coffee’ with a friend? Share your ups and downs, have a moan but make sure you also have a laugh.
  9. Sleep -now I’m terrible for going to bed too late BUT I know that I am SO much better when I get 7.5 or 8 hours sleep. Make it a priority as it does make a difference. If your child wakes you in the night I really sympathise – could you take a nap in the afternoon to catch up on sleep?
  10. Make a list of things you need to get done and tick them off – maybe you do this already but if you don’t it is very satisfying. I NEVER manage to finish my list but if I get a few done it is worth it.
  11. Think 'Acceptance' - the minute we start dwelling on the frustrations of life at the moment, the worse things seem. 
  12. Think about ways to make the most of things - Have you cut out commuting so you have a less stressful morning? Are you finding that life is more simplified as so many choices are taken away from us?
  13. Think of creative ways to enjoy the extra time you have with the children - children love rituals so could you think of some new ones?
  14. What can you delegate – even if others don’t do things quite to your standard, could you hand over jobs? My kids are cooking some meals (They are teenagers and they don’t do it nearly as well as me but lockdown has been a good chance for them to learn). Even little children can help – matching socks, putting clothes in the washing machine, laying the table?

I hope this helps. Let me know how you are doing and what things you do to look after yourselves

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