Surviving self isolation: circuit breakers.

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I have tried to resist doing an ‘advice’ style blog post on getting through these ‘iso’ days because I feel like there’s a lot of this shit out there. But I just wanted to share something that has not just helped in the pre-isolation days (BC – Before Coronavirus) but is now helping me/my family a bit during these trying times!

By no means am I saying it will fix everything, make you feel 100% better or suddenly transform your family home into a perfect oasis (ha!) but it’s something that I often have to remind myself to try when I’m feeling bogged down or frustrated or stressed by everything – even a bit flat and bored. I figure if it’s something I have to keep reminding myself about then maybe this post can serve as a reminder to anyone else who needs it.

I am also writing about this because sometimes surviving isolation with young kids (or anyone or even just yourself for that matter) doesn’t always have to involve whole entire new hobbies or elaborate schedules or plans. Or messy crafts LOL.

I love being a creative, proactive parent who thinks of cool things to do with the kids, but I am also not a fan of going over the top when quite frankly I’m exhausted or have enough of a job keeping the house tidy enough to live in without it being a health and safety hazard (forget Instagrammable – I’ll settle for ‘habitable’) and feeding the kids a zillion snacks a day.

Many of us are finally being given an opportunity to stop glorifying ‘busy’ so I want to try not to perpetuate that old mentality. I want some moments where things are less pressured – especially during these school holidays (whatever that means these days haha).

So. My point which I am taking forever to get to…

Sometimes it can just take a 5/10//15 minute circuit breaker to turn a day or morning or afternoon or hour around.

When I’m feeling frustrated (or the kids are so they’re driving me nuts), I look for a way to change tack. It can lift the whole mood of my home or calm it down (whichever is needed).

It’s a way to stop whatever cycle is playing out in front of me and jolt our brains out of something that isn’t going to end well.

It could be calming the chaos by putting on some Cosmic Kids yoga or a relaxation session and having the kids stretch/breathe it out. Like I’ll literally throw it on right in the middle of a massive chaotic ball of noise and movement, yell “HEY! YOGA! NOBODY MOVES UNTIL YOU DO THIS!”

Amazingly, it brings some relief.

It could be an impromptu dance party to your kids’ favourite songs when things are feeling flat and boring or everyone is unmotivated. You can have your own little dance party with your favourite music if required also! My son knows way too many 90s songs now haha. Wine helps.

Kick the kids out of the house and have them get some fresh air for a few minutes so everyone can breathe. Well, for the five minutes before they start fighting (look I’m keeping it real – 5 minutes of peace is better than none at this point).

Pulling out an activity or something to read that the kids didn’t know you had stashed away (this does not have to be expensive or ‘spoiling’ them). I spend very little on these things. It can even be something you printed off the internet (the other day I gave my son a print out on how to draw his favourite Pokemon creatures) or a book collection you read as a kid but haven’t shown your kid yet.

The key is to do something that changes the direction of things. Interrupts a moment. In a good way. Hopefully!

As adults, sometimes things can feel like a pressure cooker situation stress wise. Going and having a shower – washing things off and having a moment to calm down – can be beneficial. It might not always work but you’d be surprised. I swear my marriage has been saved by a few well timed showers haha.

I’ve even thrown my daughter in the bath (not literally – I was very kind and gentle haha) when all else has failed. That saying about putting your children in water to calm them has a lot of merit!

It can be heading out on a walk near your home (if you are allowed and you follow all social distancing regulations). Giving the kids something to focus on: how many different colours can you spot or letting them talk at you about whatever they need to get off their chest about their favourite topic for the whole time, when they’re used to you having to ask them to give it a break.

Recently, I went on a long walk with my kids and my son talked about Pokemon for an hour straight. At the end, I said, “Wow – did you know you just talked about Pokemon for one whole hour?” and he was pleasantly surprised he got away with it. He didn’t bug me about Pokemon for the rest of the day haha. I felt better because I’d exercised.

If you just want to get some stuff done, teach your child how to do these things! They can learn some life skills and feel really grown up. I get my toddler involved and feeling ‘helpful’ sometimes too. It can take longer but hey, I’m not going anywhere – SIGH. At least it makes her happy and she won’t be begging for me to stop working.

Think of an act of kindness you can all do for someone. Focus on that. Print off some photos or do a drawing for someone you care about but cannot see like you used to. Arrange to drop them off (safely) as a surprise. Put something lovely in your window to brighten someone’s day.

Maybe you’d normally limit screen time but for some reason you are just having a fucked up day – throw on a movie the kids will love and abandon the ‘rules’ for a little while. They’ll think it’s a treat and you’ll get a moment to yourself if you’re lucky (or at least they will be quiet and let you clean the damn kitchen or secretly scroll Insta while eating chocolate in another room for a minute).

I am not saying that these simple things are always possible or will work 100% of the time, but they’ve definitely helped me more than they’ve harmed anything. Sometimes it’s like things can’t get any worse so you may as well try!

Sometimes you won’t have willing participants and it’s not always worth pushing the point but often I find the kids welcome the change in approach as much as I do.

Not everything has to involve glitter glue or paint or a 50 step messy task you find on Pinterest. This is about survival!

Please note that this has been written by a SAHM who has a 2 year old, an 8 year old and a partner who still goes to work.

Regardless of your circumstance, a circuit breaker is a circuit breaker – you just have to find what works for you!

What circuit breakers do you like to use at times like this?

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