Guest Post: Family Wellness During the Pandemic: Let’s Get Back to Normal
Guest post by Grinil Khanna with AuX Family Dynamics.
We used to have a routine. Wake up, get the kids ready, take the kids to school, hustle to work in traffic, answer to the boss, rush back home hoping the kids were doing what they had to do without getting into trouble, and run around like a chicken with its head cut off until the kids were fed and in bed. The pandemic has changed this for many, but not for all. Regardless, parents have needed to adjust and this interesting time has given some families a moment to reflect.
Routines have changed. People have quit their jobs. Teachers have switched careers. Kids are learning online. Some people have decided to move and work remotely on a permanent basis. Others have been able to step back and reevaluate what it means to be a family.
Life is full of transitions, and this period of time has been a transition for all. As life throws those constant curve balls, it’s important that we keep a handle on what’s important.
Individual wellness alone is tough to manage, so family wellness needs that extra bit of effort. If this time has been a learning curve for you, it’s also been one for your lovely children.
Let’s touch base for a moment. There are four main components to family wellness:
– Mental Wellness
– Physical Wellness
– Social Wellness
– Environmental Wellness
The definition of each type of wellness:
1. Mental Wellness: The mental category in family wellness, mental wellness is the shared mental balance of the entire family as a whole.
2. Physical Wellness: The physical dimension in family wellness, physical wellness is the shared physical confidence of the entire family as a whole.
3. Social Wellness: Social wellness can be determined by healthy social connections throughout the connected emotional whole of the family.
4. Environmental Wellness: Safety and security is key here. The family as a whole should feel and perceive the environment as safe and healthy.
Here’s an article by AuX Family Dynamics that provides a deeper dive into each of these topics.
The key takeaway here is that the family is one interconnected unit. If one member of the family does not feel well, physically or mentally, the family wellness drops and other members of the family must step in to provide support.
Think of it like the roots of a flower. If there is a section of the flower’s roots that is not getting its full nutrients, the flower will wilt. But if the flower adjusts its nutrients from other roots into that section, it can rebalance and become vibrant again.
We all get caught up in day-to-day life – yelling, demanding, repeating, rushing – and it gets hard to take a moment to take a deep breath and check in on each other. Don’t underestimate the beautiful flower that is your family, and take a moment to nurture its roots.
The pandemic has not been merciful! People have felt isolated and metal health issues have dramatically increased in children and adolescents. Here are some tips for checking on your family and focusing on your wellness, as well as the wellness of your children. These tips can be a saving grace:
1. Find a time, even for 10 seconds, for mindfulness and re-gathering yourself.
Mindfulness is a skill and something amazing if we keep getting better at it. It is good for our minds, managing our stress, and taking a realistic look at ourselves and everything around us to keep things in perspective.
2. Be open to being vulnerable. Lead through example.
It might take a couple of tries, but mention to your family that you want everyone to be well and that it’s important to you. Be the first to step up and say: “Hey all, I feel like I want to do a small physical wellness thing together. I feel like we have been inside too much. Can we find a day this week to take the bikes and scooters to the park, or maybe shoot a few hoops? Let’s get out together and breathe some fresh air.”
3. Be observant and check in.
Whether you have preteens, toddlers, teens, or college-aged kids, everyone is going through something, so check in with each other. Try this: “What do you think it’s going to be like to see your friends again in person when you go back to school?”
4. Keep on keeping on. Make it a routine.
Weaving a conscientious family culture around family wellness takes awareness from everyone. It takes practice. It may seem silly at first, but if all members can commit to self-wellness and add to the pot of family wellness, you will create one of the most beautiful things in the world , right in your own home. Doing so makes the family stronger and more connected, and it makes sure no one is left out.
Don’t be fazed! This doesn’t mean you have to be a happy, always smiley, sitcom family. No way! You have your own family culture and identity, and your family has the power to create its own image of family wellness. Take that small moment to reflect, mindfully nurture yourself, and send it out to those you love in your special and unique way.