Do Norms Exist In Unprecedented Times?
I’m finding that there’s a fine line between knowing better and doing better as I spend my fifth week at home with the kids.
Just because we’re spending our days at home doesn’t mean that we have all the time in the world to get things done.
Have you found yourself wondering why you feel so depleted and so burned out even when you’re doing fewer things?
For example, I know how important physical activity is to my overall mental health, yet some days I don’t feel like going outside - not even for a walk. Then I get mad at myself.
Another example is that I’ll give Summer the iPad in the afternoon and instead of getting chores done, I lay on the sofa, close my eyes and rest. Of course, I can’t fall asleep as I’m the only adult home with her. Some days, I don’t feel like doing anything more than resting.
I‘m learning that there are ebbs and flows of energy available to me during self-isolation. The challenge has been to become aware of these ebbs and flows more easily and then be more compassionate with myself.
I appreciate that everyone is saying schedules and routines are so important during our time at home and for ensuring stability for your kids with special needs.
While this may be true, we are living in self-isolation during a frigging global pandemic. This is all new for everyone. It therefore can be challenging to rely on the norms to which we have become accustomed as caregivers.
I even see this with Summer - we have our daily schedule. Every morning, we write out her activities for the day and she reads the lists and gets excited….AND still her behaviour has been inconsistent & unpredictable.
I’m learning that she feels moments of sadness. Thankfully, she can express herself by saying, “Summer sad.” as we can be in the middle of a fun activity when she starts to cry and misbehave.
I guess we as caregivers are no different, and should allow ourselves the same chance to be inconsistent in how we show up daily and ready for unpredictable emotions.
We are the only ones who know what we need - rest, physical activity, an early bedtime, a call with friends, etc. I encourage you all to take a moment and listen to what your body needs today.
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I am grateful that I get to spend this time with her and her brother. I will honour this time of a more relaxed schedule.
Whichever route a family chooses, what matters is knowing when to ask for help and how to get the right help to care for any family member that needs an additional helping hand.