2020. What a strange year! This year I have had 6 months of working from home and parenting two very energetic boys aged 4 and 8 who've been out of school since March (luckily now they are back at school, phew! So I can write this!).
How did I cope with that? You probably expect me to say that I did a stellar job (since I am a parenting coach after all). But the first rule of happy parenting is honesty and non-judgement (of oneself and others). So I will follow that rule and tell you that much: I felt burnt out. Dissatisfied. Exhausted. And I am generally a very optimistic and happy person, and I have an amazing partner who is equally involved in raising our boys! However, he runs a toy shop on our high road, and I was the one who was working from home and hanging out with our kids during the day. As it turns out, doing full-time productive work from home while homeschooling and taking care of 2 kids is beyond my capacity! I could not find time to properly concentrate on work, because as soon as I would concentrate and, for example, start writing an email, suddenly there would be a fight between my two kids that I'd need to break up, or they would be hungry, or thirsty, or would want both THAT ONE PIECE OF LEGO and none of the other 3,000 that are lying around our house (and are extremely painful to step on). So yeah, this was my daily tally: work projects not finished, house is a mess, kids are tired of each other, I am exhausted. And on top of that complete uncertainty about the future! So how did I cope? I was honest with myself!
The first step to reduce your stress and anxiety is actually to acknowledge that you are stressed out, anxious and/or exhausted. Be honest about it with yourself and honour your feelings! You have too much on your plate! And nobody, including yourself, should judge you for this. Once you acknowledge it, things will become a little easier: that inner critic in our head takes an awful lot of energy away from us. You can ask that inner critic to kindly withhold their analysis of what you should and should not be doing, where you have failed and what still needs to be done. And whenever you notice that critic picking up pace in your head again, you can suggest that they focus on praising you for things that you ARE doing instead! That was my first step in reducing my levels of stress during the "glorious" days of 2020 lockdown. This step is certainly easier said then done, so I encourage you to be honest with yourself and answer this question: How am I actually doing these days? How am I feeling?
In my next blog post, I will write what further steps you can take once you've acknowledged how you are feeling. And remember to talk to that inner critic or yours next time they start ranting at you!