I wanted to share my honest account on my emotional rollercoaster journey of last year, the insights and some strategies that helped me to regain calm within the chaos of the Covid 19 which may be helpful to you too. Thanks for reading.
We all cope differently with stress and uncertainty and it’s important to be aware of that. Parenting in normal times is a juggle anyway, but add all the additional changes and pressures that the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown have brought and still does, it’s no wonder stress and anxiety has been at an all time high and many people have struggled with their mental health.
I was running two face to face businesses, then March 2020 hit and school and nursery closed, but at the time it was only going to be for three weeks, until the curve had been flattened, so I just got on with being a busy mum and juggling work.
Well, as we know that three weeks turned out to be a whole lot longer, so busy mum got a whole lot busier. There were lots of cracked plates on the floor, as some of those just couldn’t stay up spinning. Too many plates being juggled. I was having to play even more roles than ever and something had to give.
It was only seven months since my father passed away of cancer when the pandemic hit, and I was still grieving.
I was grieving not only for my dad, but my life as I knew it, the classes, the places I’d go and took for granted before. All on hold. What I would have given to take my children to a soft play centre. Now, who would have said that before! We didn’t have family living close by, just a small network of friends who were ‘my village’ and even that was taken away. Being a mum got a whole lot lonelier.
My husband was working full time, now from home. He felt guilty as he knew the burden of childcare and education fell on me. There was no energy or time to do much marketing or other business necessities. I was doing the bare minimum to keep it going.
My children are different ages 21 months and 10 and had such different needs to be met I had become a referee holding off my toddler who was throwing things and screaming as soon as I showed my eldest any attention, homeschooling or tried to do anything with him. It didn’t help also seeing on social media all of the fantastic activities, people creating rainbows, amazing projects, making videos, just having fun and it triggered me. If only I could have the time to devote to doing this. I felt like I’d failed. The mummy guilt just grew.
My cup was overflowing and my fuse was short. I was overwhelmed and had thoughts such as, is this really my life? I didn’t sign up to this, wouldn’t it be easier if I’d have had only one child, then I’d at least be able to meet their needs better. I felt guilty for thinking this way. I didn’t feel like that before the pandemic I loved being a parent of two children.
I was a therapist and teach people skills to deal with stress, fear and anxiety, but I couldn’t see the wood for the trees at the time. This definitely wasn’t the best version of me showing up. My positive parenting was out of the window. Stress levels high and happiness low. My needs were bottom of the pile. I was in survival mode.
Once I got the kids to bed I just wanted to veg on the sofa with wine and some treat that tasted good passing my lips and binge watch a Netflix series. It rounded off the day. I was struggling and falling into bad habits to give me some relief.
There was no getting away from the effect and shock of the pandemic. The whole world has been affected and I had to go through my individual journey. I’m not perfect. No-one is. Being a therapist doesn’t mean all of the tools I teach my clients I can just instantly use. I have never had to personally deal with anything like this, so it was valid that I too would be affected.
We are conditioned from an early age you shouldn’t grumble as there’s people far worse off than you. I remember that common message clearly in my childhood and whilst growing up. Feeling gratitude about your own situation when others have it harder is balancing. However you need to express how you are feeling. It’s important to do that. Comparing your feelings to someone else, you are shaming your valid response to how you are feeling. Feelings are not facts, so comparing them suppresses the natural movement of the emotion which can then add guilt, shame and criticism into the mix.
As human beings we crave security. We need to feel safe and know that we have control over our lives and well-being. Fear and uncertainty can leave us stressed, anxious and powerless. It can drain us physically and emotionally and leave us experiencing symptoms such as:
- Low energy
- Negative thoughts
- Physical ailments
Traumatic events in our lives trigger a cycle of emotion:
Shock, denial, anger, blame and despair which are governed by our emotional brain. Then when we move into hope and finally acceptance we are able to think clearly as we are now working from the rational brain.
Emotional Brain = Inability to think clearly
Rational Brain = Ability to think clearly
I totally went through this cycle. Where are YOU in this cycle of change right now? Many things are beyond your control. But your mindset is the key to helping you cope with difficult circumstances enabling you to face the unknown and to step forward into your life again
These FOUR Brain Hacks will help
1. Express Your Emotions
The consequence of emotion suppression is that inner stress is allowed to build. Allowing your emotions free reign will decrease your stress.
2. Press “Pause”- take a break
Engage yourself in something different - and remember the more fun you have, the better! Stepping back can mean getting creative and resourceful again, giving you the headspace.
3. Listen to Your “Self-Talk”
How you speak to yourself matters - be kind to yourself and avoid negativity.
4. Emotional v Rational Brain
Recognise whether you are engaging your emotional brain or your rational brain. Your rational brain will keep you on track If you employ these four brain hacks and focus on your goals
You can take back control of your life.
Getting help myself from a therapist helped me to ride this rollercoaster and come away much stronger and resilient. I have grown. I have learned. I am kinder to myself.
The value of someone else being there for me was invaluable and helped me to reset and gain control back in my life.
Hypnosis can show you the positive environment that will give you strength and energy and confidence and drive to move ahead.
Imagine how your life could be if you knew how to manage these emotional and stressful times and become more resilient.
Imagine if you could regain the calm you used to have feel inspired and confident enough to move your life forward.