COVID-19: Relaxation Tips for Parents During Quarantine

by Khadija MAWHOUB

Stress is part of life. But coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine, lockdown, and all family members spend 5 weeks together at home – that’s a new quality! We are all right in the middle of it all: appointments, jobs, children, homework, chaos in the booth, too little sleep, housekeeping, obligations, illnesses, etc. But stress is not Equal stress: There is negative and positive stress – and there are ways that help to not let stress affect you. 

Relaxation Tips For Stressed Parents During COVID-19 Outbreak:

Relaxation Tips For Stressed Parents During COVID-19 Outbreak:

1. Say “No” and stay spontaneous

The hardest thing first of all! Nobody benefits if you put too many tasks on yourself. Protect yourself as much as possible from being overwhelmed. “It can be a liberating feeling to say no to commitments that don’t fit. The child comes first,” says family therapist Gisela Storz. 

The state of emergency demands good nerves from all of us – and depending on the job also extremely. and a day with a baby or toddler is generally difficult to plan, after all, unforeseen things can come up at any time. At the moment, almost everything is unpredictable in the corona lockdown. Don’t try to get angry if things don’t work the way they should – it just gets frustrating. Those who learn to stay cool and change their minds spontaneously are better off going through life and are not easily rested.

2. No hassle

Stress arises from a hectic pace. We are in a state of emergency until mid-April, now is not the time to be perfect. If you have enough food for the day, a roof over your head, a few rolls of toilet paper (haha!) And enough children’s toys, books and, in an emergency, TV / iPad, you don’t have to be afraid. Our days are now felt differently, some work at night because they have to look after their children during the day, some of us have to do both in parallel. 

Perhaps that is exactly what offers a chance to try a completely different rhythm. (For example, I go into the garden with my daughter and cut the roses – that would normally only be possible at the weekend. But I will definitely be sitting at the computer again from 10 pm to midnight).

In general, you should do everything that can be planned as early as possible. Allow as much time as possible for preparations – such as holidays, visits or birthdays – so that you don’t end up in stress. If you don’t have time to plan, go back to 1st and try seriously to reduce the number of tasks to be done.

3. Relax

It’s easier said than done, of course. But it is also true that when we are under stress, the body reacts: the heartbeat speeds up, breathing becomes quick and shallow, the muscles contract. We can no longer weigh things up, think clearly and act with reflection, but fall into a hectic pace. Those who are tense are no longer in balance and consume a lot of energy. In short: stress harms us on many levels. The antidote: relaxation.

Robert Sonntag worked as a pedagogue for many years with stress management in adult education. he describes ways to cope with stressful everyday situations better. For example, this amazingly simple but effective emergency trick,As soon as you notice that a stressful situation is occurring, exhale and let your shoulders drop loosely and relaxed at the same time.  It is best to practice this reaction until it occurs reflexively and without thinking in moments of stress (yes, even if you feel really silly!). Sure, a few breathing exercises won’t take off all of the burdens at once, but it will help you become physically calmer and think more clearly.

4. slow down

Those who are under constant high pressure are physically strained. “The psychologically induced hectic pace affects the mental state and increases the feelings of stress, insecurity, fear,” writes Sonntag. As soon as you notice that you are accelerating due to stress, consciously try to slow down.

This point is particularly difficult for me personally: take your time to eat in peace, speak slowly, breathe deeply and evenly, move in a controlled manner. You will soon notice that it is easier for you to act relaxed and to feel inner peace.

5. Solve smoldering conflicts

When the family is sitting so close to each other for so long, noise is inevitable. Nobody wants to be in the thick of the air, but: there is no use in eating anger and stress. Decide quickly whether it is necessary to deal with conflict again. If you want to leave him alone, you should really do it and never warm up the conflict again.

6. Accept help

Sounds easy, but it is often not. You’re not alone. There are many who can help you. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help. At the moment when grandparents and ‘external service providers’ fail to help, the most important thing remains the partner and the children themselves. Think carefully about what even small children can already do. You should be clear about the skills of your partner, read point 5 again if necessary 😉

In non-corona times, the chances of getting help are of course greater:

  • Ask relatives or friends if they want to go out with the baby for an hour, for example.
  • Maybe there is also a nice neighbor child who could be suitable as a babysitter?
  • If you can afford it, get some household help.
  • If you have older children, think about what additional tasks they might be able to take on themselves.
  • Or ask the neighbors if they can bring something from the supermarket.
  • Do your parents or in-laws have time to come on certain days?
  • Or can they pick up the children from kindergarten, music school or gymnastics club on certain afternoons?

7. Take a break

At least once a day mothers and fathers should have ten to thirty minutes in which they absolutely don’t do anything. Enjoy these moments. Take time out when the child sleeps or picks up a few minutes of ironing beads from the floor – and above all: Use the time sensibly!

Now do not take off and do something that has previously been left behind. Instead, take this time for yourself. Make yourself a coffee, eat something in peace, put your feet up, leaf through your favorite magazine, talk to your best friend on the phone. In short: Now it’s not about the duty, but about yourself. If you enjoy these breaks, you can have a lot of strength in everyday life.

8. Think positive

It sounds like a truism, but it has an effect: delete sentences like “That never works”, “I can’t do it” and “Today everything goes wrong” from your vocabulary. Stress is triggered when we perceive tasks as threatening. Make yourself aware of this and interpret it positively: “It may be difficult, but I can manage it”, “I will learn from it for the next time”, “I will remain calm and relaxed”. If you notice negative thoughts flashing, say “Stop!”, Take a deep breath and repeat positive thoughts. Make sure to use positive words: “healthy” instead of “not sick”, “brave” instead of “no fear”.

9. Laugh

It is said that laughter is the best medicine. And it really is! Laughter releases, and relaxes and makes you happy. You can’t be angry with a man who smiles. Even if you are in danger of sinking into chaos, pretend you are fine for a moment. Shine as happy as you can. Think of something beautiful and try to smile. Stress hormones are reduced when you laugh because the brain does not know whether you are pulling the corners of your mouth out of joy or by force. And so it sends out happiness hormones that give you the feeling of relaxation and satisfaction.

10. Not perfect

The last and most important of the 10 tips for relaxation for stressed mothers and fathers: “The aspiration to want to do everything right and the experience that this cannot be done is a permanent stress factor for mothers,” says family therapist Gisela Storz. Anyone who constantly doubts that they can do justice to everyone and everything, and always follows a self-imposed ideal, will only make themselves unhappy in the long run. 

But if you turn your back on perfectionism, you take a lot of pressure off your shoulders. Monika Nowotny is a mother of two and has the appealing training guide “Iron Mom”. She says: “Declare a certain amount of chaos as an integral part of your current lifestyle. No household has to be perfect. (…) It is the same in some phases – also in other families”, true to the motto: As good as possible instead of perfect.

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