CoronavirusHeadstart

New Normal: Reflections and fears about getting back out there

By 28th July 2020 October 20th, 2020 No Comments

I feel like we are in a time of great change.

If you read my previous blog you’ll know my family has been shielding: myself, my partner and my four year old daughter. And shielding is about to be “paused”, which essentially means we are allowed back into the big wide world and can visit shops, restaurants and parks like everyone else. My daughter can go back to childcare and my partner will have to go back to work.  If I choose to, I can visit my office and catch up with my much-missed colleagues.

But shielding or not, you will be starting to make tentative steps back to “normal” or the new normal as we keep hearing so much about. Hopefully, you are doing that at a pace that feels safe and comfortable for you and your family; I know I am!

For a few weeks now we have been allowed out for a daily walk. If I take the walk alone or go for a little run, I feel pretty confident and safe. People are mostly as keen as me to keep a distance and I can keep my wits about me. I move out of the way or cross the road if I need to. I only have myself to worry about.  Plus, if you mention you are shielding it’s like a magic button that sends people back an extra metre or two! My friend has a great ‘Shielding’ badge she wears when out!

But if I take my daughter for a walk, it’s a whole different ball game. Any parent will know the stress of ferrying your child (or children) through the busy, and often narrow, Cornish streets. Avoiding not only traffic, but at this time of year tourists who aren’t quite sure which way to go.  Add the 2 or 1 metre rule to this and you have on your hands a juggling act that often ends in the heartrate skyrocketing up to cardio level!

Another factor to consider as parents is hand washing. I’ve really noticed an increase in my daughter’s awareness of germs and hand hygiene, which is good but also it makes me uncomfortable. One thing I have always tried to avoid is fostering anxiety. We are usually a two second rule sort of family; a few germs are good for you and all that! But we have to be careful now and I worry about our children in the future. Will the always be fearful of germs? Making handwashing fun and a part of normal routine will help!

And now let’s talk masks. I’m thinking its time I introduce my daughter to the idea that she will see people wearing masks. Lots of explaining now and even some play around the idea will help her ger used to seeing them out and about. My opinion on masks? Studies show that wearing a mask protects others so in my OPINION wearing a mask in a shop or confined area is an act of compassion, especially as those more vulnerable among us will soon be in those shops and confined spaces too.  To me it’s a kindness that will ease anxiety and help keep others safe. My masks are Harry Potter themed, which somehow makes them less scary. (Thanks to my awesome mother in law!)

I wonder how these feelings of transition are affecting you and your family. When shielding was extended, we settled into routine in the knowledge that we still had a couple of moths to go.  Our anxiety levels dropped a little and behaviours (i.e. meltdowns!) we saw in my daughter started to get less frequent. But now with big changes looming, work for my partner, the childminder and eventually school for my daughter, these behaviours and our anxieties are on the rise. Dear god, I can’t wait for 5 minutes alone time! But also, I am afraid. It’s OK to be afraid.

Lastly, I want to say that everyone is different. Some people will or will have gone running to the shops with a spring in their step and no fear in their hearts whatsoever. Others will take small steps or not be ready to take any steps at all. All of this is OK as long as we remember to follow the guidelines that are there to keep us safe. And let’s not forget to give a big shout out to the people who have been out and about all along keeping everything going! It must be very strange for them seeing the empty world they’ve been working in fill up once more.

As always, we’ve got this together and whatever your circumstance a huge well done for getting this far. These are truly unprecedented times! Stay strong, stay safe, stay kind!

– Blog written by Terrie

Emotional Resilience for Parents & Carers

Cornwall Council Advice Page

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Headstart Kernow SPACE

(Supporting Parents and Children Emotionally)

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