I decided to take a pause and introspect to understand what was important to me. I realised I needed an inside-out approach to reach out to my family and I had to choose whether to make this lockdown an experience to remember or one to regret. Sharing some of my reflections.
Self-care — It is good to be selfishly oriented. Unless we fill our cups first, we have no overflowing joy to share with our children and families. We need to keep our batteries charged and ready. I wake up every morning to a quiet sleeping household and take my time to get some sun, a warm lemon drink, meditation and yoga. By the time I hit the kitchen to get lunch going I am already raring to go. A break again in the late afternoon for a short meditation and an oil massage before a shower to soothe my body before I take a nap. This ritual of nourishing mind, body and spirit in intervals keeps me centered throughout the day to be at my best for my family.
Acceptance, focus and clarity — Accepting a situation helps us to manage the resistance we feel to the changes around. When we do not resist change, acknowledge the uncertainty and the fears that come with it, we are equipped to handle the situation better. When I ask my family how they feel about the world events around them, they say they understand the gravity of the current situation. At the same time, their focus is on what is under their control — understanding the reasons for the lockdown, complying with the requirements, offering help and support to those in need and doing the best they can to hold themselves in a space of contentment.
Non-judgement — When staying confined at home, it is easy to get on each other’s nerves. There is no opportunity to expend the energy outside. In these times, I have found it essential to have space where the family can come together to chat, discuss and share their concerns, frustrations and opinions. A space where all feelings are valid and acknowledged without judgement. From this space, emerge solutions that are nourishing to all of us and allow us to coexist with sanity and understanding.
Mindful connection — In this time of isolation, taking care of mental health is very important. Paying attention to our thoughts and feelings can help us come away from this experience wiser and more connected to those around us. It is not always required to take time off from work to be mindful. We can connect with ourselves or with the family through sharing our concerns, having conversations, daily chores of cooking and cleaning. Interacting with a mindful connection is meditation as a solo task and done together can be an opportunity to bond and have some fun!
Gratitude — Gratitude is a meaningful practice to have with the family. Giving thanks and being appreciative of the good things in life bring in more positive energy to help cope with challenging events in life. We may be in a situation that is painful, tough or frustrating and yet there is something to be grateful for — health, family, togetherness, food. It opens a space for children to have compassion and empathy for those in need and not take what is around them for granted.
We have no control over the worldwide phenomenon that is taking place. However, it is up to each one of us to discover within this our learnings for growth and expansion and to share these with our children. When our children see us processing the crisis with calm, being empathetic and helpful to those in need, it helps them to learn to trust life. In testing times like these, they learn to access their deepest inner wisdom and heed to it. No greater tools are needed to live life with authenticity.
Can we see the lockdown through a different lens? Yes, it is unprecedented bringing with it hardships for many. And, it could also be an opportunity to focus on bringing out the best in us and then we will automatically be positioned to help our children draw the best from themselves.
Synonyms for lockdown — access time; safe-keeping, sanctuary, self-preservation, protection, custody, conservation, self-defense, safe passage.
— Sushmita Ramakrishnan is with Parenting Matters, an organization that empowers parents to build deeper connections in families. To know more, look us up www.parentingmatters.in or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org