5 coping strategies for lockdown fatigue (when you have kids)

Why lockdown with children sucks

We are now two months into lockdown in the UK and I think we are all suffering from lockdown fatigue right now. I find myself in a constant battle to keep my toddlers entertained while living with an increasingly irritable partner (that makes more mess then the toddlers may I add). The house is total chaos, while people without children are learning all of these exciting new hobbies and deep cleaning their homes, us parents are doing the opposite. It's a constant struggle to keep the housework under control and kids entertained all while working from home surrounded by screaming, shouting, and mess. I am at the point now where I just can't cope, I want to scream at the top of my lungs (or drown myself in gin). While others are craving connection and social interaction, I am begging for a day to myself ('does that make me a bad mother?' says the voice in my head).

I don't know how long our lives will be like this so it's important to implement some coping strategies to avoid burnout and keep lockdown fatigue at bay.

5 coping strategies for lockdown fatigue

1) Mindful moments

The best thing you can do to cope is to change your outlook to a more positive one during the times you are struggling. This is easier said than done, especially while surrounded by chaos, but it is possible. Leave the room and take a moment to calm yourself down. A great way of doing this is opening a window, closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths to center yourself. If you find it difficult to clear your mind tap into your sensations, focus on what you can feel, taste, and hear (from the outside like the birds etc, not the kids shouting in the other room). Its mindful moments like this that often get me through the day.

2) Go for a drive

There is a lot of confusion in regards to traveling in a car during lockdown but as far as I am aware you cant catch coronavirus by going for a drive in your car. When lockdown fatigue sets in, get everyone in the car, wind the windows down, turn up the radio and enjoy some peace and quiet while your children are kept quite by simply looking out of the moving window. Petrol prices are currently at a record low too so there's no need to worry about fuel costs. Although this isn't very good for the environment, needs must.

3) Go for a walk

The daily exercise limit has recently been lifted (thank goodness) so whatever the weather get your wellies on and get out of the house. Our family walks have been a god-sent during this lockdown, the fresh air and exercise can improve everyone's mood and it breaks-up the day keeping lockdown fatigue at bay. You can also use this time to help educate your children about nature and collect different flowers and leaves to create some fun crafts with once you return home.

4) Switch things up

We all get fed up being in the same house day after day so why not switch things around in your home? I always feel more relaxed after changing around a room. The same goes for children's toys, split your child's toys into piles and only bring out one pile of toys each week and alternate them to keep things fresh (this works best with young children who easily forget about things they don't see).

5) Set a routine

By planning out your and your family's day you can create more structure that will help you get through the day. If you don't have a routine then its likely that your family will begin (if not already) to start missing or being late for meals, which results in increased irritability. They are also likely to over-sleep and snack (usually on unhealthy things like crisps) more meaning they will be eating less at mealtimes. It may be tempting to live in your pajamas and mum bun but its important to start everyone's day right by getting dressed and ready for the day too. This trick is particularly helpful for children as they will be craving a sense of structure during this uncertain time (aren't we all really?).

If all else fails, lock yourself in the bathroom, scream into a towel, and indulge in a nice glass of gin (or whatever, choose your poison). Good luck!

See also:

5 tips to boost your mental health during isolation

Staying patient with your children during isolation

Books to promote positive mental health in young children

6 healthy habits that will change your life

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