Four weeks already… Four weeks of staying at home as much as possible. Four weeks of trying to figure out what to do all day with two active children. Four weeks of worrying. With every cough or sniffle you think ‘Will we get sick?’ followed immediately with ‘Will anyone we care about get sick?’ Even more weeks of reading horrible news about the virus. More and more people dying, often so very alone. Nothing is worse than that.
Compared to that horror staying at home is not so hard. We are lucky to have a nice house, with space for the boys, enough toys to play and enough books to read. So I feel grateful for our health and all we have. We stay home and try to do our part in saving our society from further harm.
But it’s eating at me. The insecurity. Have we had it? Will we get it? How bad will it be if it does happen? What will I do when it hits my family? Will I (be able to) travel to see them? Added to that: all days are the same. Of course we try new things. We keep busy. But with everything you do you can feel the restrictions. You can’t make a plan for a day out. You can’t meet up with friends and family. Planning for a future holiday seems extremely premature. Who knows what will happen and if we will be allowed to travel at all this year for getaways. It weighs on me. It weighs on the children. I can see them get wilder, often screaming and fighting for no reason. They get upset, sad, angry or simply don’t want to do anything for hours. We try to talk about it, but how much will that help a five year old? They know what’s happening and understand what we need to do. But of course they are still frustrated and dealing with frustration is not easy. For anyone. Because I can’t give them or myself a reassuring answer. We have no idea how long this will last.
Recently I felt very frustrated as well. I did not want to think about what was for lunch and dinner for four people every day. I was fed up with trying to find new ways of entertaining the kids. I did not want to teach them things, sometimes I did not even want to play with them. I wanted time alone, time to do my things and time to deal with my own frustrations with the current limitations of our life. And that time is only available after the boys have gone to bed, when I am completely exhausted. So that did not happen of course, which only resulted in more frustration.
A few things helped. On the weekend, when my partner did not have to work, I took a break. I slept longer, read a book and had a bath while my partner took care of our children. It was nowhere near enough, but it did help. So if you can, take some proper shifts with your partner so you both have time for yourself as well.
Another thing that helped me a bit was to ‘let it go’. I am trying to live day by day and not have expectations of getting things done anymore. And whatever I can do, is a bonus. Coincidentally my son’s favourite song at the moment is ‘Let it go’ and we sing it out loud together at least 3 times a day. Added bonus: singing really helps to feel better too 🙂
I also found some great ideas in this pdf document written by some American counselors on keeping your mental health in check during these trying times.
Four weeks are done and I think we probably have many more to go. We can do it, if we just take it one day at a time. Health and safety of all is what matters.
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