Expert view: Anxious about returning to 'normal' after Covid?
Navigating the family's return to normality is another task on every mother's to do list
The last 14 months has been a wild ride. We've been living in state of flux, where change, the unknown and a lack of control were the only constants.
Things are finally on the up, and we're all starting to nervously believe that the end is in sight. Visions of holidays, leisurely dinners and big days out are percolating in the backs of our busy minds, but so too are the returning thoughts of children's birthday parties, school runs, family event planning and other pressures we may not have missed as much as we thought we would.
Laura Guckian is a Life Coach who specialises in helping mothers overcome the challenges of modern day parenting to achieve personal success. Speaking to HerFamily, she explains how navigating the family's return to normality is a task in itself.
Describing pandemic parenting, Laura says "For many Mothers, we have been living in a state of fight or flight. Trying to keep everything together while we juggled the unrealistic demands of everyday life. We have never been tasked with such a challenge; from managing working from home, entertaining children and up until recently, home schooling as well. The task of just getting through the day felt enormous and sometimes left us feeling anxious and overwhelmed."
But, although pandemic times have undoubtedly been challenging, not everyone is jumping up and down at the idea of returning to 'normal', as Laura explains: "It is a time of change. And with change, there is always a sense of excitement. But there is fear too. Because for some, the lockdown experience wasn’t all bad.
"It felt really good at times. Almost like a safe bubble away from the world. Allowing us to finally do what we wanted to do and not what we felt we should do. Forcing us to slow down and see the value in the small things in life that as mothers we may have been missing."
Mothers in particular are now overwhelmed at the thoughts of navigating this return to normality, says Laura: "Some are excited about it and some are nervous. As we emerge back into a sense of normality, how can we support ourselves through the process? And how can we navigate and overcome any fears we may have?"
The first step, Laura suggests, is a big step back. Start by "taking the time to really tune in to how you feel about it. Are you scared? Are you excited? Are you a bit of both?"
Like most things, getting your thoughts out on paper can be an excellent way to manage your emotions. Laura describes an exercise that can help support this process: "List everything that scares you about the country reopening. What is it about each one that makes you scared?"
Next, concentrate on the positives: "List everything that excites you about the country reopening. What is it about each one that excites you?
The third list, is about change: "Now that you are clear on how you feel about it, let's look at what you can do to navigate it so that you can overcome your fears and use the change as an opportunity to identify and introduce positive changes to your life."
Once you've thoroughly reflected, the next step is to plan, according to Laura: "Once you have reflected on what your actual experience was, then you have clarity on what you want to eliminate from your life and what you want to introduce into your life."
Reflection - check. Clarity - sorted. The final hurdle is having a plan in place to make those changes a reality. "List all the positive changes you want to keep or introduce into your life. For each change, ask yourself: What needs to happen for this to become a reality? How are you going to do it? When are you going to do it How will you known when you have done it?"
"You now have a plan in place that not only gives you clarity on what you would like from the future, but also the reassurance that you do have control over it all. You have the ability to build the life you want. It is in your control.
"And that is the key part. After a year where many of us felt out of control, we can now take back the control. This should hopefully reduce any feelings of fear that you may have. This should enable and empower you to be the happiest and healthiest version of you. Be the Mother and woman you want to be. And most importantly, be confident and excited and your future."
We've got this, mamas!
Laura can be found on Instagram @mindmommycoaching or online at mindmommycoaching.com