by Temi Olajide
Since the pandemic started, I have received countless messages and emails from many mums who are under a lot of pressure juggling work, kids, virtual schooling, and the home front.
Pre-COVID, they managed work and kids, but it was different. They could leave the house at 7 am and focus on only work-related activities until 5 pm. They had no cause to worry about the kids as they were at school or creche during work hours. Even for mums who have always worked from home, having their kids leave for school brought more structure to their day, and most importantly, they had time to unwind.
COVID-19 has not only changed the world, it has made it a lot more difficult for mums to unwind and some have to deal with anxiety because they have no choice but to cope somehow.
There are a lot of ways to deal with anxiety in difficult times. Some of them include:
Discover what triggers stress for you
As a mum, managing your kids, virtual school, work, and home is already stressful enough. This pandemic, where we all have to be careful not to contract this virus, makes it even more stressful than normal. The first way to deal with stress is to identify what stresses you out. What triggers an increase in your blood pressure or changes in your mood. What triggers you so much that you begin to snap at everyone around you? You can also identify the times of the day that are most stressful for you and your family. For example, it might be in the morning when you’re trying to get your kids to attend their online class while trying to get work done, or at night when you’re cooking dinner and trying to get everyone to eat on time and get to bed.
Identifying all of these stress triggers is the first step to dealing with anxiety. After identifying what stresses you, the next step is to prevent it, by planning!
Sometimes, failing to plan can make you stressed and believe it or not, your kids may also mirror the stress that you’re feeling. If we plan ahead and we’re prepared for those times – like setting out clothes the night before, prepping for breakfast the night before at dinner time, or choosing options that are going to be more time-effective for you and your family. For instance, instead of cooking a huge meal when you already have 10 tasks at work with tight deadlines, you can just order dinner for the family. This reduces the amount of stress that you have and increases the time you have to spend with your kids.
Sometimes all you need is to take a little break from everything, even your kids, and that’s okay
Don’t feel like a guilty mum if you have to go somewhere by yourself for just 5, 10, or 30 minutes. Make sure your kids are safe, walk away, and just decompress. Do something for yourself. You can try deep abdominal breathing, yoga, progressive relaxation techniques, meditation, watching comedy skits on social media, and even prayer. Whatever your preferences are, find what helps you relax and get things into perspective.
Find a good support group
Every mum needs a support group to lift you up when you are feeling sad or down. Your support group should be a safe place where you feel very comfortable with and you’re able to share your candid feelings and receive positive and constructive feedback for your situation. Our mummyclincc community is a good example of a support group helping mums of various ages in different situations get through motherhood. Feel free to reach out if you need someone to talk to.
Take time to laugh
This one is my favorite. Whenever you get overwhelmed with work, just take a break and have a good laugh. You can watch comedy skits online, or watch entertaining movies by yourself or even just spend time with your kids. Trust me, your kids are hilarious, but sometimes you’re just too busy to notice.
Most importantly, dear mums, I understand that this is a trying time for many of us and it can get a little bit overwhelming and stressful handling it all, but if we are able to keep perspective on what’s most important – which is spending time with your family and your babies, you’ll be able to make happy memories during this pandemic.