Virtual learning. Rotational schedules. Face masks, video conferences, and back to school realities. How is one to manage all of the unexpected challenges 2020 is throwing our way?
The truth is, we can’t manage it all. Parents aren’t superheroes. We’re human. And coping with stress in an ever-changing world isn’t always easy. Maintaining a healthy, happy home is important, and no parent wants their children to inherit the tensions or stresses felt by grown-ups.
At the end of a long day filled with homework, meal planning, evites, and poor Wi-Fi connections, it’s important to take some time to recharge and connect with the ones who make it all worthwhile.
Here are some ways you can cope with stress at the end of a long day and have a bit of fun, too.
1. Connect with nature.
Ensuring children connect with nature is an essential part of their development. It’s proven to benefit many areas of their emotional and mental wellbeing, including supporting their creativity, deepening their problem-solving skills, and enhancing their cognitive abilities. Try to carve out at least 30 minutes to take a walk, go to the park, or even just enjoy your own backyard every day. You and the kids will likely feel refreshed and refocused afterwards.
2. Cook together.
Who says staying in for dinner can’t be fun? Let your chef-in-training shine on family meal nights by encouraging them to test their creative juices in the kitchen by making a tasty, healthy meal. Bonus points should be awarded if they can make a veggie-based menu on Meatless Mondays.
3. Get outside.
Studies suggest that the way we move can positively impact the ways we think and feel. But with the fall weather setting in, getting outdoors isn’t always an option. If Mother Nature isn’t cooperating with your plan, play one of the kids’ favorite songs on your Spotify playlist and have a mini dance party.
Did you know that you can stream music straight through your SmartThermostat with voice control with Alexa? If your hands are full at home, prompt her with a voice command. She might even be able to guide some of your moves on the dance floor.
4. Keep connecting.
We all crave contact with others, but travel restrictions and social distancing can make getting together with friends and relatives a tricky proposition. Texting, email, and social media can play a role in keeping us in touch, but the nonverbal social cues we get from face-to-face contact are vital in helping us understand each other’s feelings. The good news is that an array of video conferencing solutions and easy access to smartphones and tablets make it easier than ever to connect. So, try setting aside a half hour this week or on an upcoming special occasion for a family video chat with a friend or loved one. Of course, too much screen time can itself be problem. Unplug by planning your video chat around a walk or park outing.
5. Separate work from life.
Working from home can often blur the line between work and family time. One solution is to create concrete time barriers between the two. This way, if you find yourself in the middle of something when the kids get in, you won’t feel guilty about unplugging to spend the evening with them. If you’re getting push back from work, try having a conversation with your manager or teammate to set reasonable expectations for your availability.
6. Stay comfortable.
Transitioning into the fall and winter months can feel exhausting. As our bodies try to readjust, double-check your ecobee smart thermostat to ensure your comfort settings reflect what your household needs. Create a sleep schedule to help regulate everyone's internal body clock to ensure bedtime routines are as seamless and comfortable as possible.
7. Take time to power down.
When your body’s feeling ready to start slowing down for the evening, make a family pledge to avoid screen time. Turn off the television, power down your smartphone, and choose to read books together instead.