Care taking and taking care. As empowered individuals navigating challenging times, how do we care for ourselves and our loved ones who we nurture and support? Today, we will examine taking care of adolescents. So, this one is for all the stressed out parents, aunts, uncles and any other caretakers out there who balance their work lives while looking after kids.
With global changes occurring every day, kids and teens are understandably experiencing an increase in stress and anxiety. And they aren't the only ones struggling with their mental health. Think of all the single mom stress accumulating in the world right now. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 1 in 3 adults have reported symptoms of depressive disorders since the pandemic began.
Now more than ever, caretakers must act as they would in the event of an emergency on a flight. Put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others. Stressed out parents, you have to take care of yourself so that you can more effectively take care of your children.
Before we dive into my tips for caring for adolescents during this time, I thought I'd help you put on your metaphorical oxygen mask first. While there may not be an easy method for stress free parenting, here are some self-care tips to help all the caretakers out there.
Love and Care for Yourself Too
If you are a stressed out parent or guardian, it may feel counter-intuitive to take a break from your responsibilities, especially if you work full-time. For some, the thought of stress free parenting or taking a moment for yourself feels downright impossible. However, in order to best support your kids, you need to make sure your tank is full. Here's how you can do just that.
Set aside at least 10-15 minutes each day for self-care.
This is not negotiable. Even if each day feels busier than the last, I challenge you to swap scrolling through Facebook for a 10-minute meditation. If you can't take a break, try playing your favorite songs as you clean or tackling a delicious new recipe that inspires you. Care for yourself in whatever way you can.
Adjust your relationship to control.
There are things that we simply cannot control. We have no control over whether we get the the promotion we want or if our company decreases their budget. However, we can control our attitude, how we manage our time and how we show up in the world. Once you accept this, you can move towards feeling empowerment rather than despair.
Ask for help.
I know that due to financial strain or health concerns, hiring extra help may not be an option. I urge you to get creative! Many of us choose to suffer in silence when there may be a way to combine forces. I’ve heard of families creating pods with kids of the same age to break up responsibilities. Before school begins again, take some time to connect with fellow caretakers in your community.
I am an awe of all the stressed out parents making it work right now. Now that we've given you some self-care tips, let's talk about how to help your adolescents.
3 Stress-Relief Tips for Adolescents
Teens and pre-teens experience the crucial developmental process of learning what they like and don't like, as well as how to navigate the world. Unfortunately, today's adolescents will have to navigate their developmental period through an incredibly anxiety-inducing time. Here's how you can help:
1. Practice Alternate Nostril Breathing
Also known as Nadi Shodhana in Ayurvedic texts, alternate nostril breathing is a grounding exercise that both you and your adolescent can practice together. Learn more about this breathing technique to calm your mind and body.
2. Self-Massage (Abhyanga) Once a Week
Self massage relaxes your mind and body. This a helpful activity to alleviate that single mom stress. As for your teen, the act promotes positive body reflection - an important practice for teens to embrace as they develop their sense of self. Simply rub oil on a tense part of the body and massage yourself for a few minute before bed.
3. Encourage Your Teen to Find Activities that Make Them Happy
As we've discussed, adolescence is all about personal development. These formidable years help them find what brings them joy. You can help by encouraging them to learn a new instrument or play a sport outside if safety permits. You can’t entertain them their entire life. They need to find and explore their own happiness.
It is truly extraordinary that parents and caretakers continue to manage working from home while their kids begin their classes online. I know that it can feel overwhelming at times but I urge you to keep going. The world needs you right now.
AARP came out with an incredibly useful resource for caregiving employees that helps you understand the current landscape of caregivers and how you can encourage your employer to give you the support you need and deserve.
Are you experiencing single mom stress? Need help caring for young children while working from home? Please let me know how I can help you as we continue expanding on our theme of care taking for the next few weeks. Click to book a complimentary breakthrough call to discuss any questions you may have. I am ready and excited to help you navigate caring for your loved ones as well as yourself.