Whether you are homeschooling, assisting your child with at-home learning, or newly transitioning to other forms of distance learning there is probably the constant threat of burn-out hovering around your home. Perhaps, burn-out has already made its way inside, and each day feels like survival mode. Burn-out discriminates against no one. It will prey on the student, parent, and teacher. Take a breath and give yourself permission to admit you’re tired, worn out, and simply done in. If you’re one of the many forced into at-home learning, not only are you juggling an educational experience you did not choose, or even want, but you are doing so while facing other major life changes. That being said, I hope to take a moment to encourage you. You are doing the best you can given the circumstances you are in. That is all you can do, and it is enough.
Let’s take a moment and just acknowledge that this is hard.
I’ve listed below a few strategies below that are known to help combat burn-out. Try one (or many) of the strategies listed below to help alleviate some of the stress. Please use your judgment to determine what strategies are allowed in your region.
Step Away from the Screens:
It is easy to seek relief from our screens. A scroll through pinterest, instagram, facebook, youtube, or a quick game on your favourite console, offers a short-term distraction. Unfortunately, when you or your child are already spending a large portion of your day in front of a screen, spending your downtime in front of another screen, is rarely refreshing.
Exercise and/or Get Outside:
Move your body! Get outside! Breathe in the fresh air, enjoy a change of scenery, see other faces (from a safe distance), and reap the benefits of some natural vitamin d! Go for a walk, play in the snow, or do some shoveling to exercise and exert some energy. An added bonus is the boost in endorphins and dopamine (the chemicals your body produces to reduce stress and boost your mood).
Take Care of Your Mental Health:
Recognize that your mental health is equally important to your physical health. Reach out to your friends, family, or doctor if you are noticing a concerning change in your overall mental well being. Don’t be afraid to seek help from counselors or other professionals. Here is a helpful resource of children and youth mental health signs and symptoms.
Pursue a Hobby:
Take time for your hobbies, or start a new one. Take a small chunk of time to do something that is simply enjoyable each day.
Care for your Well-being:
Be kind to yourself. Recognize that this is a tough situation and that you are tired. Do your best to eat well, sleep well, and take care of what needs to be taken care of. Give yourself grace when you need it. Treat yourself as you would treat a dear friend in your same circumstances. Here are 10 tips to keep kids healthy.
Learning at Home is Difficult:
Encourage your child(ren)! It is hard to learn new things. It is hard to learn new things in stressful circumstances. It is hard to learn new things when you are distracted by your home/room/parents/siblings/pets/toys/devices. Learning will be hard and your child needs encouragement and reassurance that it is natural to find this a challenging school year.
Create a Routine:
With so many variables at play, creating a daily routine (the simpler the better) gives some structure to the day. Structure is known to be healthy and helpful for both children and adults. Structure alleviates anxiety regarding not knowing what to expect and when. Learn about the importance of routines here.
Let it Go:
When children are sick, we keep them home from school to rest. It is equally important to rest when our mental health is suffering. If your child is having a rough day, is stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, it may be helpful for them to take a mental health break. Be it an hour, half a day, or a day – let it go and be o.k. with taking a break.
Find creative ways to help your child(ren) reconnect with their friends. Many children are missing the social aspect of school. They miss their friends and the daily interactions with people their own age. There are many virtual options for kids to connect. If you are able (and when restrictions allow) arrange some outdoor, physically distanced play dates or visits.