By Julie Bean, Lower School and Junior High Counselor
Masks….they are everywhere these days. As I put on my homemade mask to go to the pharmacy last night, I thought about my last trip to visit my daughter in New York. Pre-pandemic. The flight attendant instructed us to put the oxygen masks on ourselves before assisting our children in the event of an emergency. What an incredibly important reminder for us as parents during these unprecedented and challenging times! Self-care is a lot like putting on our oxygen masks first, so we can better care for our kids who need us now more than ever. We know from science that if we want children to do well under stress, parent well-being is the single most important thing. Taking care of our own emotional health and well-being is the best thing we can do to help the ones we love.
So how do we put on our oxygen masks and practice self-care? We need to realize that self-care isn’t selfish! We need to let go of any guilt we may have for prioritizing ourselves. We need to make sure we are getting support and connecting with others we care about in order to talk about what is going on in our lives and to share a laugh. What is the best way to make this happen? I highly recommend this article from Suniya Luthar, PhD, Staying Connected Through the Pandemic, that gives a quick roadmap. In the last month I have had the amazing opportunity to virtually meet Suniya Luthar and Nina Kumar, national experts on resilience, when they consulted with a group of Noble leaders. I have been inspired to reflect on my own self-care and have taken better care of myself as a result, in turn making me a better parent. Maybe you will be inspired, too. One thing we know for sure - our children look to us to see how we handle stress and act during difficult times, so it is important to model in ourselves what we want for them.