Hello! I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well. What a rollercoaster of a week this has been! Schools in England have been closed for a week due to Covid 19.
At some points I've been feeling incredibly lucky and almost like I'm on holiday and at others, I've been gripped by fear and worry for the future! I think these are all normal things to feel in this uncertain time and I know from my mindfulness practice and training, it is important to acknowledge the whole range of feelings.
There are so many presssures (both internal and external) that can make us feel like we need to be busy all of the time, doing all of the things; exercise programmes online, daily walk, 'home educating', keeping on top of work, planning and managing the home etc etc the list is endless and if you are anything like me, your brain will be adding to the list of 'doing' things; since last week I have worked my way around cleaning and sorting each cupbaord in the kitchen! Those of you who know me well, will know that cleaning isn't really my thing, so I know that it must be linked to feelings of anxiety and need for control.
It is completely normal to want to fill your day with a routine for some predictability, please allow space within that to take 'time in' with yourself to allow yourself to feel those feelings that you might be trying to ignore. Lean into them, be curious about it, what sensations are you having in your body? What feelings are you feeling? Allow them to come. If this is something you would like to do more of, I'll soon be launching a 'mini course' on mindfulness for yourself, just as soon as I have figured out the technology!
Today was the first day that should have been a school day. It went pretty well, we created a timetable based on the Healthy Mind Platter. I thought I'd share it with you, in case you fancied doing similar. Bearing in mind my children are 8 and 5, this routine may not be suitable for everyone but it worked nicely for us today.
We didn't have any set timings, one focus lasted about 10 minutes and another for over an hour because that is how they were feeling. We talked a lot about how we were feeling, which to me is really important (especially as my youngest had a nightmare last night).
I would highly recommend that you be guided by your children's needs and your own. I appreciate a lot of you will be having to work from home and that is REALLY hard with children around. There is only really one category that needs your undivded attention and that is 'Connecting Time' which we all need.
The Healthy Mind Routine and Ideas The resoloution on these images isn't great so I'll pop them into the facebook group too. I hope that you find them useful. It would be lovely to hear about how you are getting on if you are using the Healthy Mind categories.
If you need to work alongside your children, here are some tips and ideas:
Warm wishes to you, let's hope the sun keeps shining!
So, for us tomorrow is the first day of the new normal. The kids won't be going to school and all of my work is cancelled (my husband Guy has had his cancelled for some time now) due to Covid 19.
Many of you are in the same boat, maybe some of you have already been this way for a few days.
As a previous teacher it is tempting to get out all of my old 'teachery stuff ' create a learning timetable and start home schooling like I have seen many others share on social media. I also feel some sort of pressure to do this from social media and the pack of work sent home from school.
Lot's of people seem to think that this is the time for us to take of our parenting hat and put on a teacher's cloak (although that does sound cool!) and get to work 'educating our kids'.
I'm not going to do that.
The reason is because this isn't home educating. This is a serious global pandemic. We are in the s#*t. Everyone is.
There is no point pretending that every aspect of our lives haven't changed and just ploughing through with phonics, maths and spelling like everything is fine. It's not fine, the kids know it's not fine.
We need to nurture our children's well-being before we think about anything else. They are looking to us, thinking; What now? How do we cope with this?
This is an opportunity for us to connect with our children and model what resilience looks like. It's an opportunity to be honest, open and vulnerable with them and to reassure them.
So no. I'm not home schooling.
Of course, I am not saying that we won't have a structure to our day. Routine is important for children to feel safe, it brings order and comfort. There will be a daily routine in our home, no set timings for us, but a general 'flow' of the day to keep us all sane!
I am also not saying that there won't be any learning. As parents and carers, we are our children's number one teachers.
So what are we doing?
As a Well-Being Education Consultant I read a lot about what keeps us healthy and I love an idea proposed by Dr Daniel Siegel and Dr David Rock. They talk about The Healthy Mind Platter, similar to the Healthy Food Plate. They think that we all need 7 elements to keep our brain healthy, which leads to overall well-being. Our day in the Hankins house is going to be based around this notion:
The Healthy Mind Platter
Please excuse my scratty photo! These are the basics, the things that neuroscientists think help us to have a healthy mind when we do them daily. In very simple terms;
Maybe you would like to do this too.
So today, we talked about each element and the kids came up with ideas of things that they like to do that fit into each category.
Tomorrow we will create our own 'daily plan' base on what we think we need when. This is very personal to each family.
I really believe that involving children in their daily routine plan will help them to feel included, important and in control (so important right now).
Here are my children's ideas of what things they like to do in each category. I'll share some of their ideas in the facebook group. If you would like to do this too but are struggling with ideas, get in touch.
Keep well, and KEEP AWAY FROM EVERYONE ELSE!!
In my blog, I reflect honestly about my experiences of trying to enhance the well-being of my own children.