by Amy Huntsman and Maurita McCorkle •
Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from a tough situation. Although the concept is simple, putting it into action can be tough for resource parents during normal times. With a pandemic, a contentious election, and civil unrest all going on, it can be even harder.
The good news? Finding joy and trying new experiences can help you and your family overcome feelings of disconnectedness, cultivate positive habits, and build closer relationships. To help, we’d like to offer few suggestions for boosting your resilience to the stresses everyone’s facing these days.
COVID-19 has closed gyms, pools, and other exercise facilities, but that does not mean exercise is or should be off the table. Exercise helps us maintain health, prevent weight gain, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve sleep (Penn Medicine, 2020).
In these times, exercise can look like a bike ride with the kiddos, a walk around the block, or an online yoga class. On the internet you’ll find exercise programs for all health levels. Some even allow the whole family to exercise at the same time. We recommend “Cosmic Kids Yoga” with Jaime Amor. Her free YouTube sessions intertwine relaxing yoga with familiar stories in a way that’s fun for all ages.
Staying connected through conversations with loved ones we can’t see in person is quite important. There are lots of apps out there to help. Some even let you connect with friends and family face-to-face, but on your own time. For example, Marco Polo bills itself as the “video walkie talkie.” It lets you send quick video messages back and forth with your friends. With another platform, WhatsApp, you can make free international calls as long as you have Wi-Fi. Now you can talk to that long lost friend in Europe without worrying about data charges or using minutes!
Is getting creative your strength? How about some of these fun activities: dress up dinners, glow stick dance parties, or painting and hiding rocks in the neighborhood for others to find. One family we know is cooking food from across the world. Every week they pick a different country, learn a bit about it, then on the weekend they cook a dish from the country to share. They’re starting with Afghanistan and ending in Zimbabwe.
Connection with your partner is also a priority. Without our closest supports, hardships can seem defeating. Take time to have a date night at the house! Set up your spare room to be a lounge after the kids go to bed. With a couple of candles, a glass of tea or wine, and your favorite Spotify channel you can pretend you are somewhere fancy, even if it’s really just the craft room under cover.
Finding resiliency outlets is good for your kids as well as for you. By including them in activities and modeling the importance of self-care, you’re teaching them strategies and habits that will serve them for a lifetime.
We all have a deep need to connect. When that need is met, we’re better able to meet life’s challenges. Connection! This is how we’ll make it through to that day when we can go back to having dance celebrations with everyone we know.