To Parents, with love.
Dear Parents, Grandparents, & Caregivers of children and teens:
I urged you yesterday that “now is your time to take care of you.” We do this in the face of knowing that for many of you, your precious bundles of joy – big and small – are starting back to school this week. Be it virtually or in person, there is no question this is a challenging time. For you and them.
So how can you make yourself a priority right now?! I say you must. At least begin by being kind to yourself.
Whatever decision you made with your child and on their behalf there are pros and cons. No scenario is perfect. But then neither is life. It’s through both school and life that your children will learn important, vital lessons.
Whatever decision you made, it is possible you and they are anxious.
I’m not an expert on mental health, certainly not pediatric mental well-being. I am a mom. Who makes difficult choices that aren’t perfect. The best outcomes often happen when I commit to the decision, with a calm confidence. It’s not that I’m not open to pivoting. Because often there is no simple right or wrong. But once the decision is made, I get behind it. And corral my kids behind it too. With an open but strong sort of confidence. You don’t make progress by standing at a crossroads wringing your hands. You pick one path, and tackle that journey with courage, patience, and curiosity. Knowing, that, if required, you may have cut over to a different path. But you need to start one path, today, with conviction.
Here are a few ideas I have encountered that resonated with me, and I – and my kids – are finding helpful:
Anxiety is normal. It can be part of a complex, fulfilling life.
Anxiety can be positively adaptive. It protects us from danger and helps us reach important goals. Rather than eliminate anxiety – or eliminate the things that cause anxiety – help your child manage it. Potentially start with managing symptoms such as learning to calm their breath and slow their heart rate, or – conversely – purge the fight or flight hormones with a quick sprint around the block.
Express confidence in your child, ensuring expectations are realistic. Discuss the upcoming, anxiety provoking event or scenario and express to them that they are going to be ok. Avoid leading questions, as this can plant more anxiety seeds. Ask. Repeat back what is making them anxious so they are heard. Things can become much less frightening once they are shared. Let them know they are strong, patient, imaginative, careful, creative, courageous enough to figure out next steps, stick with it, keep trying, find a way, do their best.
Secure your own mask first. Just like in an airplane. Children learn directly and indirectly from your behaviour. They soar on the wings of your confidence. They calm more effectively when you exude patience. They feed off your energy. And they can learn from you how to effectively manage anxiety.
Anxiety can become a problem. If you or your child or teen are concerned that anxiety has become problematic, please speak to your family doctor or contact an expert who can help you determine the problem and help navigate next steps. Here is a resource from CAMH that might help get you started.
Be kind to yourself. It’s a really tough time for so many. It’s really hard being the one who has to make tough decisions that directly impact the people we love. I can’t promise everything will be okay. But I bet you are strong, smart, and loving enough to figure things out.
A few helpful resources:
Toronto East Health Network
Inspiration of the Day
“There is no such thing as a perfect parent. So just be a real one.” - Sue Atkins
Live Workouts of the Day
Today we’ve got a couple of live workouts on the schedule.
MOBILITY & MUSCLE WITH MATT
Today, Matt’s bringing you your lunchtime pick-me-up! This workout will focus on the shoulder, hip, and ankle, moving you through a full range of motion. There will be additional stability work for the glutes and core included!
No equipment needed this week!
Join Matt at 12:00pm (35 minutes) from your own living room.
Click here to join the workout.
Meeting ID: 892 2779 8538
ON CORE WITH GARTH
Garth’s back with another week of On Core, where you’ll challenge your core and stabilize your trunk in just 30 minutes!
Recommended equipment: light/medium dumbbell or weighted object (water bottle, book, etc.)
Join Garth at 5:30pm (30 minutes) from your own living room.
Click here to join the workout.
Meeting ID: 868 1155 7138
Click here to review this week’s schedule.
If you have any questions about our virtual live workouts, please reach out to Lauren.
Trainer Moves of the Day
To best work through our stress and anxiety, many of us turn to exercise. Why not get your kids involved too? Shara’s Hatha Yoga, a live workout offered every Friday, is the perfect introduction to yoga. And if your kids are in school? Just follow along with one of our pre-recorded workouts available in our Virtual Library.
For questions about today’s Trainer Moves, you can connect directly with Shara here.
Do you have a “Something of the Day” you’d like us to share?! Email Meg.