Parents are struggling. They have been struggling since mid-March when a two-week extension to March break became a six-month hiatus from school as we knew it.
Many have become reluctant home-schoolers.
Many have had to balance the anxiety associated with being an essential worker and the threat of bringing the virus home to their families.
Many have been challenged to try to balance working from home and caring for their children.
Many have had to step away from work, or have experienced layoff or job loss and are home caring for children when they are worried and stressed about their future.
And they are doing this while having zero ability to tap into the resources to help them manage family life. No grandparents to offer a little respite, no playgrounds to burn off some energy so parents doesn’t lose their minds and no playdates or extra-curricular activities to create opportunities for connection and fun.
This has placed an impossible demand upon families and it is hard to imagine doing all of that without falling apart.
And this is not to mention the children who are not coping well. The children who are afraid of the “virus” that seems like a monster ready to attack them or the people they love.
What an impossible burden that has been placed upon parents. We see you and we understand how hard this is for you. If you are struggling, you are not alone.
As things are starting to open up in the province, some may anticipate some relief. But for others they may be feeling more anxiety and fear. Will we experience a surge of new cases? Just as we have hope of returning to some kind of new normal, will we be sent back to isolation if the move to re-open happened too quickly. There has been discussion of a “second wave” – how will we cope if we have to go through this again? And, will it be safe for our kids to return to school or summer camps if it is possible.
These are extremely difficult times and sadly there are no easy answers or solutions. But there is something you can do – and you can teach your kids to do it – and that is to tap into the power of affirmations.
Affirmations – What Are They?
Affirmations are positive phrases or statements you repeat to yourself to challenge negative or unhelpful thoughts. Practicing positive affirmations is simple, and all you need to do is pick a phrase and repeat it to yourself. These phrases are designed to help your brain overcome negative thoughts and shift your mindset. Affirmations are short, simple statements that are always said in the present tense.
Do They Really Work?
YES! I understand it may be hard to believe that something so simple can actually work – but it does. Each one of us, big or small, has the capacity to help calm our minds – we just need to practice and harness the power of our mind to work for us, instead of against us.
If left unchecked, our thoughts may race and get stuck on stressful worrying thoughts that become difficult to break free from. This is an example of our mind working against us. When our thoughts get stuck in these negative places, we are bound to feel anxious, irritable and stressed. But, there is an alternative. We can work to shift our thoughts creating an opportunity for them to work for us. Using affirmations helps to calm an anxious mind creating the opportunity to feel better and have more positive thoughts.
A key to success in using affirmations is practice. The more you or your children use them, the more helpful they will be.
Affirmations – Let’s Get Started
Once you come up with your affirmation, you calmly repeat it to yourself. If you are doing them with your children, say them out loud together. If you are using them on our own, or encouraging your kids to use them independently, you can say them to yourself in your head or aloud – whatever feels best and is appropriate for the situation or surroundings you are in.
Here are a few suggestions to help you get started. You can use one or a few of these as outlined, or you can modify them so they feel like a good fit for you.
- I am safe, I am healthy, I am loved.
- Today is going to be a good day.
- Everything will be okay.
- Today I did my best and now it is time to rest.
- I am brave and I can get through this.
- I am important and I am needed.
- I can get through a hard time.
- I have people with me to help me get through this.
- I am calm.
- I am peaceful.
- I am strong and I am flexible.
- Smile and breathe.
- I can tell my worry to leave.
We believe in the power of affirmations and encourage you to give them a try.
Books We Love
Designed especially for children, the Mindful Mantra Series by Laurie Wright is a great way to promote your children’s use of affirmations. Here is the first book in the series, “I Can Handle It” to get you started.
“When everything feels like an uphill struggle, think about the view from the top.” Author Unknown
If you or your family need help to navigate this challenging time our therapists are here for you.
Call us today at 613-848-3683 or Book Your Appointment Online Now.
by Mary Joan Brinson MSW, RSW