13 Apr Emotional well-being under lockdown
What is happening?
The world as we know it has changed dramatically in the last few months, to something unrecognisable. Rarely, if ever, has the current society come to a collective standstill, but yet here we are, fighting something unseen but ferociously catastrophic. We are living in strange and uncertain times, which is deeply unsettling for people of all ages.
As we enter the fourth week of lockdown, a heavy sense of reality hits us, the boredom, isolation, irritation, disagreements, anxiety, longing to see family and friends. We worry about our lives, our families, even in many cases our livelihoods. Many are trying to keep a structure, perhaps managing multiple jobs: home-schooling, remote working, house work etc. There’s a continuous stream of news and social media posts, which again inflates our anxieties; therefore the external worries as well as busy households; the list can feel endless and overwhelming.
What can we do?
Many are struggling to find some hope in these times, but there can be many benefits. The world has been forced to slow down, take a breath, smell the Spring time roses as we may say. The rush of our society, where we are constantly moving somewhere, doing something, going somewhere, has stalled; so what next?
Keeping things simple:
This is a time where you can take a step back and REFLECT. Stop and think where your life is, what you can do to make it better, and what you can do to change for the better; via actions, or even ones thoughts. Keep it simple, and practice self-care to ensure we are in a relaxed state, as remember we may shape the feelings in our household.
-Make a list of activities you and/or your family can do for the day – keep the timetable loose, changing it up each day. Post it on the fridge – make it colourful, eventful and exciting.
-Do exercises, copy ones online, or make it up yourself.
-Try cooking something new, experiment, or use it as a bonding time with the family.
-Try some beauty regimes, taking care of ones skin, a face mask, maybe those aches you had for some time but never had time to take a hot salt bath – DO IT!
-Pray Salaah as a family, even very young children, give them space near you to copy your actions.
-Allow yourself time to build your khushu in prayers. I for one, and I am sure many others have tried to complete prayers quickly as you had many other things to do that day, now give yourself time and space to recite the words more carefully; make your duas with more thought.
-Set yourself some goals along with the children, reading a page of Quran, trying to learn a new dua. Tailor it around you and your needs.
As parents during this time you may be particularly worried and anxious, so just imagine how the children may be feeling, as their lives have changed so drastically. Not being able to see family and friends, not going to school; it’s all very puzzling.
One 12 year old child said ‘it feels like a continuous Sunday, with Monday never coming’ and another 6 year old child said ‘we call it a deadly virus…it makes people cough or die’.
It’s important we address these feelings, thoughts and worries; and as adults we can help them:
-Ask “how do you feel about what’s going on?” and listen carefully, acknowledge, before rushing to reassure.
-Allow feelings to be heard, even if they sound “silly”. Acknowledge that they may be feeling angry, as well as worried or sad. You can do this via talking, through games (board games, or team building exercises) or even arts and crafts.
-Allow teenagers and those with special school examinations or projects to have space to get mad or sad about it, as they are in a really confusing academic space.
-Let children “find their feelings” through talking, drawing etc. Can they draw a picture of how they see things? You can support this, by making this a family thing: a competition – to draw the virus, how you feel about the virus and then compare results and discuss.
-You can also set up a ‘Worry Box’ and encourage your child to write their worries and post it in a box and go through it with them before bed or on a set day.
-When discussing COVID19, always ensure you state the Facts as advised by the Government and NHS, if old enough to discuss and understand. Children are overhearing things, getting misinformation via social media etc, therefore reassure them and guide them back to facts.
-Reassure that although the adults are still learning, there are lots of doctors and experts helping everyone to know what to do, such as: washing hands, staying calm, looking after others. Maybe make a face mask together, or how to keep the germs away into an activity.
There are links below for activities that you can do, or tips on discussing difficult issues with children during this time; and other references:
(Please note; Noor Ul Islam is not responsible for the contents of the third party links provided here)
Written by Rafia Yousuf (Psychotherapist) & Nazmin Rahman (Social Worker)
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