Hitchin wellbeing charity Phase on the challenges parents face during Covid crisis and lockdown

  Posted: 31.01.21 at 10:54 by Emily Croucher

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Phase is a small Hitchin charity with a big mission – to work alongside young people to promote their wellbeing and resilience.

Across the last year their mission has become even more important as we all face the challenges of lockdown, social distancing and stress caused by Covid.

Phase strongly believe that when children are supported early it is possible to prevent more serious emotional and mental health issues developing.

But what about their parents?

Emily Croucher, Phase's early intervention leader, on the pressure mums and dads are under during the pandemic, and what can be done to help.

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At Phase, we spend a lot of our time helping young people to build resilience and good wellbeing, and particularly at the moment supporting them in all the ways that they have been affected by this pandemic.

But we are also aware that for parents this has been an exhausting and incredibly demanding time.

As a parent, so much time is spent focusing on your children and family’s wellbeing, that often your own becomes the last priority.

We recently sent out a survey to parents, asking them about their own wellbeing.

The majority of parents rated change and uncertainty as the biggest challenge to their wellbeing.

However, we also found that although 75 per cent of parents rated it four or above out of six, when given the opportunity to expand, they expressed that they were facing a number of practical and emotional challenges.

This felt like a contradiction and we were interested in understanding why that might be.

One explanation for this is simply that parents are so busy and spend so much time focused on how everyone else is doing, that they just don’t have the time or capacity to check in with themselves.

The danger is that this allows the stress and anxiety to build up without being aware, until suddenly hitting crisis point.

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Phase podcast

We have just released a short podcast series: “Continuing to parent in lockdown” where we discussed some of these topics with three individuals, who are all parents of children at different ages, and who each have various experiences or knowledge about mental health and wellbeing.

We discuss with Kirsty, Nicholas and Donna the ways that lockdown has affected them and their families, and they share the ways they have managed the constant change and uncertainty, and the strategies they found useful.

We also offer some explanations for the survey data and why parents rated their wellbeing so high when they are facing so many challenges.

Episode 2 includes a discussion about this, and simple ways that we can keep check of our wellbeing level, look after our mental health and recognise the early signs that something is wrong and we need to make a change.

In our conversation we also offer an alternative explanation – that because of the shared experience of lockdown, and our awareness of how challenging others around us have got it, we feel that we can’t complain.

Maybe our expectation of “good wellbeing” is lower than it was this time last year, and if we aren’t at crisis point, we feel like we should be doing okay.

It was interesting to hear different perspectives on this, and answers to the big question of whether we can reach beyond survival more, to a genuinely good level of wellbeing, and really thrive in this current situation we’re all in.

Check out our podcast: “Continuing to parent in lockdown”, which is available now on Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon, for all these discussions and many other reflections and fantastic strategies for looking after our wellbeing as the pandemic continues.

More information about Phase and lots of free resources head to Phase

Podcast link here

Emily Croucher, early intervention lead

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