Dealing with Emotions as a Family when Drastic Changes Occurs -Corona Virus

Drastic changes, like we are experiencing during this outbreak of the Corona Virus that seems to be affecting how our world usually functions, can bring up random emotions that we may not have dealt with before. Parents have it specially hard as they have many personalities within a household that all seem to deal with things in different ways, all who are experiencing the same disruption of normalcy and all  who they are responsible for. Parents have a responsibility to be there for their kids but it is very important that we are there for ourselves first. If we don’t have it together, we may find ourselves highly reactive to small things that would not usually affect us. This could cause a snow ball effect that can set a day or a week, or a quarantine off to a bad start. We can also transfer our fears and stress onto the people around us, as pent up emotions seem to spill over at will.

As information from news sources or governments is coming in and things are closing down, take a moment to care for yourself. No, I don’t mean wash your hands, get a mask or buy toilet paper, although you should probably do those too, I mean take care of your mental health. Stress has been proven to be detrimental to our health. It’s been proven that when we are stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced, and we will need to be in tip top shape to fight off Covid-19. So, take some time for yourself to process what is happening. If you have a daily practice, use that to work through the feelings that are popping up. If not, going to the gym or for a run/walk, can be equally helpful. Access your fears, keep in mind that preparing and worrying are not the same thing. Worrying takes you out of the present and into an imaginary future that has yet to be realized and may never happen. Why waste energy on something that hasn’t happened. Concentrate on the moment, on the things you can do now you keep you and your family safe and comfortable. Working through the stress of an unforeseen situation can be challenging but, as a parent, you are the captain of the ship and you set the tone for how everyone else reacts to the situation. Working on you first will create a strong foundation for the whole family.

Once, you are in a good place, talk to your children. Uncertainty can be triggering for kids and young adults. Experiencing drastic changes in combination with witnessing adults acting stressed or worried, may cause them to feel uncertain about what is happening. Except, they might not understand what the feelings are and might display these emotions in random and seemingly unrelated ways. In response to this, you can sit down with them to talk through what’s happening, as in depth as you deem appropriate, and give them an open floor to address their feelings. If they seem to hesitate to share, you can ask question, but it is very important to ask in a way that is not setting up an answer for them. For example, if you ask them “are you scared?”, you are putting the thought of fear into their heads whether they had previously thought of it or not. Using more open ended questions, like “what do you think of all this?” or “what are you feeling right now?” can help them search for an answer within themselves instead of sticking to the words you used. Don’t assume to know their feelings and ask questions as a way to get verification, allow them to investigate for themselves and give you an honest answer. Reassure them, that not knowing how they feel is perfectly ok, but that they can always come to you as new things surface.

After everyone has taken care of their initial emotions, set yourselves up for the weeks ahead (check out our QUICK START homeschooling guide). Create a plan on how to deal with the day to day that works for everyone, allowing room to nurture the whole family’s mental health and to adapt to new changes. New feelings will continue to emerge as you are creating a new life pattern and new daily habits. Make sure you are not over scheduling your day to the point that causes more stress instead of relief. We create plans and schedules in a way to feel more in control of our lives, but uncertain times like we experiencing now can disrupt the feeling of control, so keeping our schedules loose within some wiggle room for new and unforeseen circumstances can have less of a disruption and maintain a light sense of normalcy.

It’s important to remember that we cannot control the external world. We can only control ourselves and how we react in each situation. Changing our perspective to appreciate and be grateful for the wonderful things present in our world, can take us out of the gloom of a worst case scenario and get us to focus on much happier things. Check yourself constantly. Allow feelings to flow but pay attention to where your thoughts go, and be present to catch them and bring them back to the present moment. Also, touch base with your kids often, readjusting to a new lifestyle, even if for a short time, will take a lot of tweaking. They will have thoughts on a new schedule, they might find it hard to concentrate, and they might even miss being in school. Respect their process and don’t force your family unit to operate in a single specific way. Allow small and constant changes to create something more organic in which every family member can feel comfortable, safe and thought of.

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ABOUT BLOGGER

Karen Matamoros is the founder of Project: KAring, an alternative education portal for kids focused on the body, mind, and soul. She created this community to make free form education easily accessible to every child, though a directory, forums and scholarships (PK on FB & Insta). She is also an ordained minister and has been in the depth of the self-help world for almost two decades (follow her introspective thoughts on FB ). A few years ago, she decided to sell her 6-figure business to start unschooling her two daughters on the road full time (follow her travels on Instagram , Facebook or Youtube)and has been traveling the world ever since.

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