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Coping with the challenges of COVID-19 can feel like bucketing water from a sinking ship.

Despite your frantic efforts to keep it afloat, more water rushes in.

Job uncertainty, bail!

Home school, bail!

Social isolation, bail!

Relationship challenges, bail!

Health concerns, bail!

Money problems, bail!

The virus, bail!!!

It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed. So easy for our motivation and determination to wane.

But it’s so important to keep bailing regardless.

Why trying matters

Reference points are personal experiences you can reflect on to learn about yourself.

They’re a chance to ask yourself honest and sometimes difficult questions like; How did I react when tested? What did I do well? What could I have done better? Am I proud, comfortable, or ashamed of my actions? How did my actions affect those around me?

How you handle hardship creates a reference point for your future. But it creates one for your children’s future as well.

Our children are observers, watching our every move and mood.

But they’re more than that. Children can read the energy of a room better than most adults.

When we’re overwhelmed, frustrated, or fearful, our kids often know it before we do.

We shouldn’t hide or bottle up these emotions. They’re natural. They tell us there’s a problem to be addressed.

Just remember, our children will learn from how we address these problems.

And, as there are unhealthy ways to cope with tough times (thoughtless reactions, excessive alcohol, poor diet, smoking etc), there are healthy ways which are much more effective.

Show your emotions

Vulnerability is a strength and helps build resilience. Talk with your children about why your mood may swing. Discuss some of the challenges you’re facing and even ways you can work as a family to alleviate them.

We simply cannot solve problems when we’re in fight, flight, or freeze mode. Show your kids how problems are solved through calm, open communication. It’s a skill they’ll learn for life.

Prioritising and journaling can work hand in hand to reduce the clutter in your mind. Work out what’s most important and leave the rest behind.

Remember, we don’t need to be perfect in the current circumstances. Good enough is good enough. Be kind to yourself and it’ll flow on to your kids.

Of course, there are endless healthy habits we can adopt and share with our children. But this approach to life in lock down shouldn’t be yet another bucket to bail.

You’re creating a future opportunity for you and your children to say ‘We got through that so we can get through this!’

Mathew Churchill is a director of Resilience Builders.

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