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  • Writer's pictureRayna Shock

How to keep you and your children mentally healthy during lockdown.

Some people will be taking lockdown in their stride and doing the many innovative activities, which have sprung up on the Internet. Others will be finding lockdown more challenging, particularly those cooped up with children in accommodation without little space and without a garden; and those where there is violence or family tensions are running high.

It is really important that parents take care of their own mental wellbeing so that they are able to help their children. It is absolutely understandable if you are feeling anxious, overwhelmed, depressed or fed up. You aren't alone. These are unprecedented times and more people than you realise are feeling similarly, in spite of the happy, positive videos and messages that abound.

If you aren't able to do new activities and hobbies because your children are too young to let you, because you haven't the motivation, because you are too fearful about your health and that of your family and friends; because you are worried about finances or because you don't have support - or, indeed, for whatever reason, it is important not to feel that there is something wrong with you. Reach out and speak to others and you will see that you aren't alone.

Having said all that, try to limit the time you spend being anxious or feeling low. Decide how long you will sit and worry and after that time, try to focus on something else. Try to set yourself a routine for each day and schedule in worry time. This stops you focusing on the negative feelings for too long.

If you practise limiting your negative thoughts (Mindfulness will help with this), you can teach your children to do the same. Children imitate their parents. If you seem to be confident and coping, your children will be less anxious about you as well as about the implications of the virus. Limiting also the time you spend watching the news is also helpful. Decide when you will watch and do other things in between.

Acknowledge your children's fears. Ask what they are feeling and actively listen to their answers to show that you are really hearing what they are telling you.

You can't change the situation. You can only change how you deal with it. Remember that your depressed and anxious feelings; as well as lockdown and the virus themselves, will eventually pass and that a brighter future will again take its place.

If you learn to view lockdown as a gift to slow down, to do new activities, to reflect on your future or to bond as a family by embracing new ways of being, this is a far healthier way of looking at the situation than seeing only the doom and gloom relayed to us constantly on TV, radio and in the media.

If you are struggling, seek support. If you use support groups on social media, just be careful that these are positive and are not bringing you down more. There are also many agencies that can help point you in the right directio e.g. Mind, Young Minds, Childline, Samaritans, Mix, Gov. Uk to name but a few.

You can also post here and I'll answer any questions you may have.

Be safe and Happy Easter to you all!

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