Are you feeling stressed right now? Worried about Covid-19, worrying about family members and friends that are key workers? Worrying for your elderly parents and relatives? Yes, me too.
There has already been loss within my circles. I am sad for friends who are struggling, I miss seeing my mum, I miss seeing my friends and doing all those little things we took for-granted. This week is our school Easter holiday, and I was planning to take my children to stay with their Nan for a few days, giving me some precious alone time. That won’t happen for the foreseeable future. I am home alone with my children, and of course I am very grateful that they are happy and healthy. But they still cause me stress. They refuse to do the allocated schoolwork we are advised to do. They refuse to obey simple requests. They won’t be quiet! And there’s the dog, who barks every time somebody walks past our house.
We live on a busy road and there is a local pharmacy, post office and convenience store just a few hundred yards away. Despite the lockdown, there are more people walking past our house to visit these shops, and more people parking on the road outside our house for the same reason. Our dog insists on barking at all of them, to the point where I must shut him in the kitchen with me to keep him quiet. My workspace is now our kitchen breakfast bar.
This all sounds very trivial. What have I got to complain about? I am safe at home with my children, we have food and supplies, we are healthy, and we have a large garden in which to get fresh air and exercise. But that doesn’t mean I can’t feel stressed and upset about the situation.
I cannot sit and meditate like I used to because I am not alone anymore. My children need lots of reassurance that everything will be OK. They miss their friends, their school and all the activities that we should have been doing. How do I manage their stress levels? I try to show them how to meditate, and we practice deep breathing exercises. But I find that the best response is usually to sit quietly on the sofa or in bed and cuddle them while they watch a favourite movie or TV program. We find comfort in the familiar.
I play a favourite game on my device and that calms me down when I feel stressed. There is nothing that I need to be doing right now, other than staying home to keep me and my children safe. We will all get through this.
Catherine is the author of the adult paranormal romance series The Redcliffe Novels and also The Darkness of Love, She has short stories published in YA anthologies, freelance articles on various industry websites, and contributes to her personal blog, and her author blog .