3 Ways to Foster Family Emotional Health During This Pandemic

My thoughts raced as I made my to-do list. Stock up on medications, check food supplies, cancel almost everything. When I have a task or project to do, I’m on it. In normal times, I go about my life in a basically balanced way. These are not normal times. I slowly but surely lost my balance. 

My anxiety was on full display. I know this to be true because friends and family pointed it out. I felt like a failure. 

That’s when I remembered: “Be kind to yourself.” As soon as I had that thought, I softened into self-acceptance. I forgave myself for not having a better initial response to these tough times and that forgiveness opened a doorway. I went through it into a peaceful calm that allowed me to sink into relief.

Acceptance diffuses fear. Whatever lies ahead, I’ll be better equipped to handle it with my soft blanket of self-acceptance soothing my heart, lowering my blood pressure, and allowing my deep breaths to fill me with grace and ease. I resumed my meditation practice and home exercise routine knowing that nurturing a calm mind and body will always be a benefit.

Here are some ways to help you and your children emotionally regulate and feel better as we face our new normal: 

Breathe together 

Try the Breathing Fingers© technique. I use it with people as young as four and as old as ninety-seven to get calm and present.

Acknowledge and process the difficult emotions

FLIP the Mood© helps to name and tame emotions. You’ll be teaching your kids a portable way to manage their fears.

Co-create a daily schedule with your children 

Many kids need routines to help them feel secure. The whole day doesn’t need to be accounted for, but see what works for you and your family. Visual aides such as charts and chore wheels might be useful right now. Schedule time to:

Play together

Make up games, research age-appropriate games online, and play well-loved games. Family games such as Charades or Pictionary, card games like UNO and Go Fish, and other activities will give your children something to look forward to each day. Do puzzles together. In nice weather, play outside. If your children are old enough, take turns reading favorite chapter books. 

Find family projects

Brainstorm with family members and use this unexpected time to create baking or cooking experiences, small house projects, or other endeavors that can be accomplished together. 

What will you be doing to help your children be emotionally healthy over the next few weeks? Please share!

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