Information and events Mental Health Support Looking after your mental health Lockdown Learning and Family Life The recent pandemic and ‘lockdown living’ have changed a lot of things about family life. As parents or carers you may be worried about how to manage stress and changes to daily routines, along with having additional worries that you may never have had before. It is important to remember that each and every household is unique; just as we are all unique and individual, so are our families. What might work for one family, may not work for another, and this is important to remember when seeking advice or information. Everyone also copes with change and stress in different ways. Being a parent or carer can be challenging in everyday situations, now more than ever. Taking care of your own mental health is very important. Additional pressures of home-schooling or working from home and other unexpected changes of circumstance can add extra pressures. You can reach out to ask for help or support from friends, families, or organisations that are there to help. Asking for help and experiencing changes to our mental health are normal in periods of stress. Our children may also be experiencing different feelings than normal. It is important to be able to talk to each other and explain how we grown-ups too can at times experience different feelings, but that they can ask other grown ups for help with these. Looking after our own mental health is essential in looking after our families. Taking the time to address what has happened over the last few months is also significant, and whilst some aspects were difficult, there may be other parts of life during lockdown that you and your family enjoyed. Perhaps it was a slower pace, a sense of ‘togetherness,’ and being able to spend more time with one another when you would normally be apart. Our often busy lifestyles can mean that sometimes we are unable to enjoy the most simple of things, such as; the joy of being together. There may be some positives you can take from this experience. Good News – there is help available! You have kept you and your family safe throughout a very uncertain and frightening time. Perhaps you now feel more prepared for facing difficult situations in the future. The great news is that there are a lot of supports available, and services, organisations and groups who have been able to adapt to provide their support to families without needing to be face-to-face. Useful links and helpful tips Connect with friends and family, if you cannot meet one another in person, you can write, phone, text or use apps such as Skype or Facetime to stay connected. Try and set a routine which will help you feel more in control of family life. Try not to be too hard on yourself if you cannot stick to it, make it simple. Utilise resources available online, you can find these through fantastic websites such as Parenting NI, BBC Bitesize, local support groups and much more. Try and take time for yourself each day that could be to read a chapter of a book, to watch a favourite programme or to go for a walk.