Parenting in the Time of Coronavirus Part 1

By Lisa Powers, Parama Dham,
Madison, VA, USA

Many years ago, at the request of Shree Vasant Paranjpe, Lisa Powers and Parvati Rosen-Bizberg wrote The Fivefold Path Parenting Program. It has been taught in schools and to community groups in the U.S. and South America.
Lisa Powers is a Certified Homa Therapy Teacher, president of Fivefold Path, Inc., and editor of Satsang online newsletter. She and her husband Richard are caretakers of the Parama Dham Fire Temple in Madison, Virginia, U.S.A.

Parenting has always held its challenges, but family life in the time of coronavirus brings its own unique issues.
This is an unprecedented time in known history, when, practically overnight, life has changed drastically for people all over the world. Countless parents are in crisis due to sudden joblessness and financial losses. Food supplies and other necessities are in short supply in many areas. Lockdowns and other restrictions have isolated millions from friends and extended family, and thrown immediate family members together in limited space, with little privacy. For millions more people than before, just keeping a roof over their heads is a struggle.
In the midst of all this upheaval, how can we help our children and have a good family life—at least, as good as is possible under the circumstances?
The following are suggestions to help families cope in these times. Everyone’s situation is different; admittedly, these ideas will not be possible for everyone, but hopefully some will be useful.

It Starts with You
In such uncertain times, it’s normal to feel more stressed and anxious. Learning to manage these feelings will go a long way toward helping your family to cope.

Children take their cues from the adults around them. If they see you handling the changes fairly well, it sets the stage for them to react calmly, too.

To whatever extent is possible, take care of your own health and stress management. Agnihotra Ayurvedic healing fire, practiced at sunrise and sunset, is a powerful tool for stress reduction, and can help other household members as well.

Practice of Pranayama rhythmic breathing exercises after Agnihotra can promote calmness.

Get regular exercise. It can reduce stress, uplift mood, and boost the immune system.

Support wellness by eating healthy meals and using herbs and supplements for immune boosting.

Get proper rest! Getting enough sleep is one of the most important ways to help the immune system.

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. When so many are suffering worldwide, try to be thankful for every positive thing in your life.

Uplift your spirit by helping others.

What helps you to relax? If possible, carve out some time for yourself. Yoga, meditation or enjoyable hobbies can help one to recharge and face the challenges of the day. The adults of the household may need to change their routines and share responsibilities in new ways, to best support each other.

(It is written in the Homa Fire:
Photo from Jhoja Millan)

If you suddenly feel overwhelmed, see if you can take a mini-break by stepping away from the situation and taking some deep breaths, taking a shower, reading from a favorite book, going outside, etc.

Limit your exposure to the news and social media. Staying informed is sensible, but endlessly reading and watching disturbing stories can feed fears and anxiety.

Practice forgiveness. With all the changes that virtually everyone has had to face in recent weeks, chances are that you will have to deal with angry, upset or unreasonable people. Remember that not everyone is capable of coping well, and everyone has their bad moments. (Forgive yourself when you react badly, too.)

If you are a person of faith, now is the time to draw on that faith through prayer, meditation, reading of devotional literature, etc.

Stay connected to others as best you can, by phone or internet. Keeping in contact with loved ones helps us feel supported, and can be a valuable way to share solutions to everyday problems that have cropped up in these fast-changing times.

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