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Emotional Health & Wellbeing Series: Beneath the Surface... Lockdown Crisis

Picture Illustrated Above: Created by the #EISavvyCoach

"We can’t control everything that happens, but we can change our experiences of those things." ~Mindful Moments - Headspaces~

Beneath the surface lurks the stark reality and naked truth, as wide and deep as the ongoing problems faced by parents with children attending schools, colleges, and universities across the United Kingdom and globally.

The first time I had any idea that there would be school closures due to the Covid-19 was around late February when my brother mentioned that his daughter’s school may not be open until September 2020! In my naiveté of the serious impact and ramifications that this would bring and, the bubble that I was obviously in. I honestly thought oh dear, poor thing, like it wasn’t going to come to a school near me!!

It reached us practically without warning! One day my son was attending school and the next day, he said “mum, we’re off school now”!! I asked him if he got a letter from school for me and his response was no. That is how swift this decision was executed. I was numb for a while as, I had to recollect my thoughts, plans and household to accommodate the changes that had to be in place for some semblance of normality, in whatever form it came in. I was annoyed that there had been no letter or, any indication of what was coming or, more to the point, what was here and in immediate effect! I had to search on the school’s website to find out exactly when it was taking place and what systems were in place to ensure the continuity of my son’s education. To say it was a real eye opener is a big understatement. I had no idea that this would trigger a whole raft of challenges and changes for my household and, for every household globally, with or without children.

This first wave pandemic and lockdown triggered a series of events that lead to shortages and, a raft of other situations that impacted everyone globally. I’m not going to go over what we’ve all experienced in one way or another, no one was exempt from what has transpired and, the momentum that was mounting around the need for clarity! All we needed was clear and concise actions that were being sanctioned by the government and governing bodies for us here in the UK and, it would be the same for others in each country who were responsible for the sanctioning and dissemination of all information and guidance around Covid-19, lockdown and what next strategies.

Impact and Effect

I had to share something a friend of mine posted recently. I was so moved at what she’d written about her daughter, that I asked for her permission to include it in this post:

“It’s easy to underestimate the impact that the change in our way of life has had on kids. For the most part, we expect them to just adapt and adhere to whatever rules or restrictions we’ve given them and to their credit, they do. But as I’m sitting here with May, who has just started crying because she’s ‘not allowed’ to visit our friend’s new puppy, I’m starting to realise how much must be going on in their little minds. She is crying and saying, “I just wish the news would say that the virus is over today” and she is genuinely so sad.

They’ve adapted to a completely new way of learning outside of the normal school environment, they’ve been kept away from their friends and many family members for months, they’ve been denied access to the park, missed birthday parties and celebrations, been kept indoors far more than is natural for a child, been denied traditions and days out and, most sadly, access to the physical affection and contact that they thrive on. Sure, we are all finding new ways, new activities etc., but this all takes such a toll on the little minds that we expect to ‘just get on with it’.

I’ll continue to do what’s asked of us, because I want to keep my family safe, but I will also try to provide them with extra compassion, reassurance and patience because there’s so much that kids don’t actually know how to say.” Sarah Wilcox

Mental health incudes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing; affecting how we think, feel and act. If we’re feeling the strain, can you imagine how children are feeling, processing and having to deal with what is served up?

I received a mental health check call from my son’s school recently. The gentleman was a member of staff at the school and was really nice as he enquired how we (specifically my son) were coping with this present lockdown situation and, if there was anything at all the school could support us with if need be. This included problems with internet and Wi-Fi connections.

I thought it was quite nice of them to do so. I explained that as an Emotional Intelligence coach, but mother first, I have always made a point of conducting Emotional Health & Wellbeing Temperature Checks with my children. We talk and discuss freely how we’re feeling on a daily basis so, it was good to tell him that my son wasn’t having any problems but, he like all children are anxious to get back to school. My son’s exact words were… “I’m getting fed up with the ‘virtual learning space’, I just hope that things will get back to normal soon!”

No matter whether you are talking to your children asking them how they are and what you can do to help them, you may not get an answer, you can see by their actions that something is wrong. their lashing out, not working effectively and creating issues where there is none. Parents of these children have no emotional support to cope with this unprecedented situation.

Even the hardiest of individuals will start feeling the pressure of lockdown too!

Mental health incudes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing; affecting how we think, feel and act. If we’re feeling the strain, can you imagine how children are feeling, processing and having to deal with what is served up?

My question is... What else can we do collectively, collaboratively and, as part of your local community initiatives, to alleviate this pressure for ourselves and for our children?

Jacqueline A. Hinds is a Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach & Bullying and Harassment Consultant - Author of Journey to Empowerment: Tackling the Bullies Within.



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