The Coronavirus is a worry for all families. But if you parent a child with complex needs, or have health concerns yourself, the stress and uncertainty can feel too much to bear.
While we can’t control everything, there are small things we can implement into our day that help look after our minds and bodies. Here, we take a look at six.
Train your inner chimp
Intrusive, irrational thoughts are a product of what Professor Steve Peters calls, our inner ‘chimp’ – which plays havoc with logical thinking. This type of thinking quickly spirals out of control, and is particularly destructive to our mental health. By taking each time each day to reflect on our reactions, we can begin to train our inner chimp to be better behaved, calmer, and more logical.
Eat well and stay hydrated
Eating little and often helps keep your blood sugar stable and regulate your energy levels and mood. If you find yourself reaching for a chocolatey boost by 11am, try filling up on protein-rich foods instead. Foods like nuts, oats and beans might not sound exciting, but they help keep your energy stable throughout the day. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water – it plays a critical role in proper brain functioning.
Stay in touch with the people you love
When you parent a child with complex needs, you may already be familiar with self-isolation. But during a time of increased pressure, it’s especially important to remember not to lose touch with the people who lift you up. Although you might not be able to see others in person, having video chats can be a great boost to get you through the day. From FaceTime to Zoom to Skype and WhatsApp, there’s a host of tech at your fingertips.
Interestingly, Professor Sophie Scott, Director of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, told Sky News that video calling has been proven to be just as good for your brain and happiness as being with someone in person. Hooray!
Try and incorporate some exercise into your day
While household chores and looking after the kids can feel like a marathon, dedicating some time to exercise can help boost your mood . Whether that’s ten minutes in the garden skipping, doing star jumps, or some yoga, every little helps. What’s more, exercise is a great way of helping to reset your sleep patterns.
Experiment with cooking
According to a study in The Journal of Positive Psychology, people who engage in small, creative projects every day feel happier and more relaxed. Cooking is a great creative pastime, and in uncertain times like this, batch cooking can be particularly useful. If you’re after new ideas, it’s worth checking out Keep Cooking and Carry On by @jamieoliver on Channel4.
Find people going through similar challenges
Find people who are going through a similar experience. Our social networking app. for families facing unique health journeys, is the perfect place to find parents like you, near you or afar. You’ll also find a dedicated Tribe called Coronavirus, where you can discuss your fears and concerns with others facing similar challenges.