Unlike other lockdowns, during this one we have made the decision to continue to look after our 4 year old granddaughter one day a week. Last week, she taught me a valuable lesson.
Life is such a challenge at the moment. The deaths from Covid rising to terrifying levels, the economy crashing, thousands of people made unemployed. New variants of the virus and long-Covid to add into the mix. And the fact that it is January, and the weather is grey and cold.
I have strategies to help me at times when I am feeling stressed or low, and I am lucky enough to have plenty of interesting projects to keep my mind active and engaged and I also get therapeutic satisfaction from knitting and crochet. Even so, the current strictures of lockdown can bring about the odd day of low mood.
After our granddaughter's visit last week, I began to realise that I had been doing too much 'Adulting'. Too much of the Parent and Adult ego states, and not nearly enough of letting my Child out to play!
In an email exchange with a friend, I described our day with Evie and I wrote "We had a great day with Evie yesterday, and were completely shattered by 6 pm. Drawing, hide and seek in the house, out for a walk following "dinosaur footsteps" and running away from monsters whilst being a tiger kept us on our toes all day long. When all is said and done, being reminded of what is important in this world is the tonic that will get me through this worrying time."
While the intent of my words was in response to my friend and I hoped to give some support, from her reply to me I realised that I had been neglecting my Child ego state. (This example also speaks to the point that while offering strokes to others, we benefit ourselves too!). And I am probably not alone in this.
In no way do I mean to minimise the incredible pressure many of us are under at the moment. Home-schooling three or more children while doing your own work from home and running a house-hold requires positive Parent discipline and Adult problem-solving in quantity. So does front-line work in hospitals and care homes. Easy to neglect the needs of your Child ego state. But I am suggesting that some time be reserved for the care-givers to care for themselves, to recognise what they need to do in order to be able to "fire on all cylinders".
So whether it is dancing, candle-lit bathing, painting or indeed dinosaur footstep following, my challenge to you today is to find 30 minutes to yourself, for this and every day following.
And tomorrow, I go back to being a tiger again ..........
Lynda Tongue TSTA-org
Learning and Development consultant since 1991. Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst since 2013.