Updated: Apr 7, 2020
Hello and welcome everyone. This is Dr Alison with Little Black Bag Medicine, and today I wanted to share with you a little bit about calming in the chaos because it kind of seems like everyone's freaking out right now or they're on the opposite end of the spectrum where everything's fine, they don't understand what's going on, they don't care. And that's okay too.
Today I wanted to share some tips about how to remain calm, keep your family together, stay creative, and really keep, keep yourself together, right? So really you can only take care of yourself right now in your family and that should be your focus. I know my kids are very empathic. They pick up on my fears, my anxieties, they know when I'm stressed out. So it's really important as parents to keep ourselves in check to keep our voices the way we talk, the way we move around the house and checks our children don't grow up and really become prone to this anxiety.
And I know that's easier said than done. I want to say don't talk about your fears or impending doom or making fun of other people.
Trying to really, if you need to talk to your spouse or you need to talk to your friends, really just be aware that your children are listening through, picking up on how you feel about things, whether you're in fear, whether you're in control or whether you're in denial. So really try to create a safe space for your children to express how they feel without feeding them how you're feeling as well. Keep things light as much as you can. I know I sent my husband out today and I was home with my son who's eight and I said, Hey, if you find toilet paper, it's time to stock up!
On the inside I'm thinking, Oh my God, everybody's buying toilet paper. Like we just stocked up and now I'm like having this panic moment. I didn't want my kids to know like this is the end of toilet paper in our house or this is the end of food. I told him like, isn't it funny that people are running out and buying toilet paper? But not food, like we need to get this together.
And he really understood that and we made it a joke and we're trying to keep it light in the house as much as possible.
The other thing that they see a lot is changing routine, sticking to routines, implementing new homeschooling routines. Right now for our family, we're not a lockdown, we're not homeschooling. My kids go to public school, but I see a lot of, I'm pulling my kids out or a lot of schools are closed down.
So many families are thinking now we're going to homeschool and now here's our schedule and this is what we're going to do. What I have to say about that is that if you're already a family who loves routines, who loves having a schedule, and everybody thrives on that, like your kids know, all right, at nine o'clock, we're doing breakfast at 12 o'clock, we're doing lunch at four. It's homework time. And like they crave that. They need that, they've flourished in it. And you do too. By all means, write yourself up a whiteboard and print out a schedule and keep everybody on it and add new things to it and add in your workbooks or whatever. That is what you want to do.
If you're a family that does not do schedules, if you're a family that does not homeschool and you have no interest in homeschooling or your kids are like mine and they look at you and you're like the worst person on the face of the planet, if you try to teach them something that they didn't want to learn because you're not their teacher, don't jump into homeschooling.
Don't go out and get all this curriculum. Don't feel like you have to pressure yourself into a new schedule or a new way of doing things at home. This is a time for you to be with your kids as much as possible. Yes, you can try and kind of learn new things, but you know, keep it playful. Don't keep it structured because that's just going to create more drama and chaos and really emotional pain because you're going to be fighting.
I know when I tried it when my daughter was much younger and I'm like, all right, we're home. We're going to have the schedule. This is what we're going to do. It was just, we just kind of mad at each other all the time because she's like, I want to play cause she was three and like, no, it's 1130. We have to do science.
Really it's about understanding our children from their perspective. There are many different types of learning, whether it's reading auditory, kinetic or kinesthetic movement. This might be a great time for your kids who need movement to learn, to get up, to play games, to interact instead of sitting at a desk all day. Really get to understand your kids and their motivation for learning their learning techniques and what they want to do as well. So the other thing that I've been posting a lot about it is I have my Facebook page has a what to do when you're at home. And I'm posting a lot of links for kids who are home, whether it's learning above size, Ayers, a Google doc with all of the national landmarks and zoos and their live animal cams. And then you can take tours of museums. So check out that post because you're gonna find a lot of inspirational things.
I know that I had planned on taking my daughter out of school for spring the day before spring break to take her downtown. We were going to go to the St Louis art museum, make a whole big day of it and go out to lunch. And now we are not going to be doing that. And I'm really disappointed, but I know that I can get online and be like, let's go international with this. Let's make it fun. Let's bring home food order food. That's going to be a celebration of that. So instead of making it a downer situation and everybody's going to be upset and feel like we lost something or we're going to create something at home, that's going to be a lot of fun. So I'm excited about that. So make sure to check out all of those things. I'm going to add a lot more to the comments as I keep finding more things.
The other important thing that I learned this week and something we've always done too, is to involve your kids with the list-making, ask them what they want to do. I gave my son a piece of paper. I said, write down everything you want to do this weekend. And he wrote down, you know, a couple of things that we can't do, like going to the park and you know, he wrote out riding his bike, playing in the backyard, reading his book. He wants to write a short story. So all of these things that I probably wouldn't have thought of he's letting us know. So get them involved, ask them what they want to do and when they look at you and they go, Oh, I'm bored. Which I get a lot from my kids, which I love because then all of a sudden my daughter said, Oh, well I started a blog and I'm really excited about this.
And then we got really creative with it. So boredom is awesome for kids is a time for them to figure out what they want to do. So don't feel like you have to entertain your kids 24, seven because when they get bored, they get creative. When they get bored, they figure out new things that they could try or invent or play with or Oh, that toy that you got for Christmas that you just had to have and never played with. Now we get to pull that out and it's really exciting.
Another suggestion I saw was to get out a whiteboard or a big piece of paper and write down the problem and look at the solution together as a family. So number one, I'm bored. Okay, well let's make a list. And a lot of those things you aren't going to be able to do, but that's not the point.
Even if you can't do them and your kids are like, we want to go to Disney world and we want to go to the park and I want to have sleepovers with my closest 80 friends, don't be like, no, we can't do that. Say, okay, cool, we're going to put this on the list and you're going to write it all down and then you can say, all right, these things we can't do right now, but let's say over the summer we're going to be able to have a sleepover with you, all of your friends, or we're going to go here, we're going to do this thing that you really wanted to do. So it gives them something to look forward to that they still feel heard and valued and appreciated for what they want to do. And they're not hearing no, no, no, no, no all the time.
Eventually, once they get through all the things that they can't do that they would normally do, like playing sports, things like that, going into church, going to youth group, they're going to wind through all of that and then it's going to like, they're going to come up with things that they can do right now and then you're going to be able to say, yes, let's do this. Let's cook, let's bake, let's read something online.
For me and parents and people who are home. The next thing is, Hey, the house was a chaotic screaming mess right now and I need help. What are the solutions? What can we do to help out each other as we're cleaning and assign little tasks? Because that way they also feel like they're in control. They're helping, and it reduces that chaos, that feeling of overwhelm and panic.
And when you're looking at the house and you feel like, Oh my God, I have to disinfect everything right now, you can go, so we're just going to start with the shoes. Can we put the shoes away? Let's get this area taken care of. Everybody is responsible for this and see how you can fit that in. That doesn't mean unless you're already doing a chore chart and the chore routine and a status a certain time and you're killing it. God bless you. I love you. If you're not doing that, don't feel like you have to be like, all right, 12 o'clock we're doing chores. Figure it out. Bring it into your schedule. Give it as something to do. Like I'm bored. Okay, well here's the list of things that we had to do, right? And things like I need help with you can say, all right, what are you, what can you help with? What do you want to help? But maybe there's a reward. Maybe there's not, I don't know. That's up to you and your family.
So we aren't in quarantine yet, but we are isolated because my son decided to get a stomach virus a Monday. So he's been home for a long time. We're still in quarantine because I don't want anybody else getting that stomach virus. So it's one fun thing that I'm going to try and do with my friends who are around the country is do like a zoom conference and they don't even have to be around the country. It can be your neighbors next door, but we can't play together and really just get the kids on zoom and the parent, my friends on zoom and like play charades together or do like a Pictionary or creative games. And that way I get to hang out with my friends and have a time because you know the kids are going to get bored and like jet after 10 minutes and then they're going to come back and they can play together on an internet platform, a social platform, and get to meet new people and try new things, playing new games and you still get social interaction. So I'm really excited about that.
Stay in the present is really important when your mind goes to fear. Panic. Oh my God. Are we going to be able to get food? Are we going to be able to make money? Are we going to have a business? Bring yourself back into the present. Take some deep breaths. Feel where that feeling is in your body and be able to work it through. Talk yourself through it. Put down your phone. Oh my God. Put down your phone. Turn off the TV. Don't argue with your spouse. Don't call your mom and argue with her about who's right, who's wrong, what everyone's saying, cause no one knows, right?
This is the hard part, that everything I've read is completely contradictory to each other. So ignore it. Do what you can. Stay, stay busy. This is a great time to declutter. Clean closets, junk drawers. You can get books for free from the library. I know a lot of people don't know this, that they haven't eat library that you can borrow books from. They have a copyright usually to like three or four books that they can lend out at a time plus videos. So if you're bored on the Netflix or Hulu, things like that, you can always go to the library. You can read books from your laptop or your phone and they have kids' books too. And of course, many companies are offering free classes, free courses right now to make up for people not being able to have the income, but still needing something to do wonder at home.
And my books are on Amazon right now. I was able to lower the price, so they are 99 cents for the next week and a half because I could do it for longer. So check out your favorite authors. Get some books, get them for free, get them for super cheap, get some courses in right now. And really see what you can do and learn and involve the whole family. And exercise is another great thing cause it's going to get that energy out. And heavy work is really important for kids' nervous system, especially if they have neurological issues like my son loves his body, loves heavy work. He does not love heavy work. So carrying laundry baskets, carrying heavy things or pushing the laundry basket across the house will help their neurological system calm down. So help them exercise to help their brains and your brain as well for calming things like that.
I love YouTube story time for yoga. You could type that in. They tell kids the story and you do yoga poses to mimic the story. So it is a really great way you can involve kids in exercise and activity when everybody feels like they're going crazy.
As an online provider of telemedicine, I love that. I don't have to worry about people coming into my office or getting each other sick or what we're worried about because we always meet virtually. So if you're struggling, you can meet with your doctors virtually. Even my primary cares who said they would never do that, are now doing that. I get therapy and work with a lot of therapists who are also online on these platforms. So if you feel like you need extra support, you need somebody professional to talk to you, check out all of these online platforms, they are amazing and you're going to get help without needing to leave the house.
Go for a quick win. Another thing that I like to do when we're having a hard time something simple like, alright, I drank water or I took a shower today or something that's really simple that can give you a little boost of, okay, I'm doing something good and doing something for myself. I'm doing something that is not based in fear or chaos or panic and that way you can celebrate that.
And lastly, really focus on creating an Oasis for everyone. When, I mean I think I still do it now. What I like to tell the story, like when my kids were little and I was super stressed out, we, we had a really hard time. I would put myself in mommy timeout. I would put my headphones on. I would tell everybody mommy had a bad day. She was a bad kid.
She needs a time out and they would just took one or two songs. So not, not an extended amount of time. And just put the pillow over my face and like just like, all right, I just need this. And it worked really, really well. So that way I had some safe space. The kids were in the safe space. So how can you create an individual Oasis for everyone, even if it's small, even if it's just the bathroom or a closet so you can get a mental, emotional and physical break for a short amount of time as much as possible.
And that's how we are focusing on creating some calm in the chaos. I hope that you are able to keep yourself safe and healthy over the next few months, entertained and able to really focus on how this is a great time to connect with your family, to slow down to see how important you are to each other, and really embrace the togetherness, togetherness, and the love that you have for each other. Of course, if you're needing emotional support, if you need physical support, I always offer a free 30 minute consultation so we can discuss what's going on with your health, how functional medicine can help and help you feel like yourself again. All right. Thanks for tuning in and we'll see you next time.
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