by Sarah Tolmie
How are you going? How has the experience of COVID-19 and time in isolation, the disruption of school, work, sport and activities routine affected your family life?
There has been much conversation about the negative effects, such as the stresses on finances, mental and physical wellbeing and relationships, but also, there have been surprising benefits to our time in lockdown and social isolation.
Every challenge and crisis invites a new creativity. Humans are such amazing adaptive creatures.
What COVID-19 highlighted for many was the pleasure in the return to simplicity. In the slow-down, families have enjoyed more time together. They have a rediscovered a sense of playing and being together.
Instead of rushing to school, sport and parties, they have been reading, doing puzzles, making music, learning a new skill, sewing, knitting, crafting, cooking and baking together. There has been sharing creative home or art projects and enjoying the art of deep conversation.
Once we pushed through the layers of boredom, even boredom had gifts to offer. Who indulged in the luxurious art of daydreaming? Who went out into nature for unstructured play and movement?
And not to mention, no shops, no unnecessary consumption and spending. We realised maybe we don’t need so much stuff.
As restrictions lift and we begin the ‘snap back’ to the fullness of life, I am sensing some of the collective anxiety is not just about risking a ‘second wave’ but also a resistance to returning to the previous normal. We like some of what we have had to create in our COVID-bubbles.
This is not dissimilar to the pattern of disruption, repair and recreate that occurs when I work with couples to restore a marriage through a crisis. Our goal is not to return to how things were but accept that has ended and recreate ANEW. We would embark on a conscious and deliberate curating of a new life and new relationship together.
So too, post COVID-crisis, the invitation is to create anew. Just as the world and our country on a macro level is adapting to new rules, regulations and approaches, so too in our homes and domestic lives and familial relationships we can take this time to make changes. We can ditch what hasn’t been working and keep some new things that we have found we like.
What family rituals and activities do you want to keep and incorporate to stay in your new normal?
What old ways of being and doing did you NOT miss?
Recognise what may have caused you stress before that dropped away during COVID and ask yourself does that need to return fully into your family routine and habits, or is it due a review?
Eight weeks of isolation is a decent amount of time to form a new habit that may have a good chance of staying as part of your routine. I know for myself I have a deep desire to keep my new found love of beach running and yoga routines. Having felt the benefits, they will be hard to give up.
Are there people in your life and family constellation that you realised you missed and needed and want to now re-establish more regular connection and/or are their some people that in your isolation and distancing, you didn’t miss, felt relief to have a break from? That’s OK too and worth reflecting on whether you want to keep these new boundaries.
I quite like keeping social catch ups to a small group. That suits me just fine.
Talk with your kids and ask them what they have enjoyed. Do they like having free time and less scheduled activities, or not?
What family rituals did you miss in ISO? What family rituals did you create in ISO? What does the family routine and landscape you want to create now look like as we stretch into a new future?
It’s time for a family meeting. Get together now, around the dinner table of that hearty home cooked meal, and get selective, choosy and clever. What better time than now, before we get fully unleashed on the other side, to make some changes.
Take this circuit breaker moment to say out with the old and not working things, in with the rediscovered pleasures and simplicities and surprising delights, and embrace with deliberate choice a new family ‘normal’.
Sarah Tolmie assists people to celebrate, navigate, grow and heal through all their life & love transitions. Her practice focuses on love & relationships, families & children; life success & fulfilment, illness, death & grief. As an Holistic Celebrant Sarah creates profound and meaningful ceremonies for all life & love events. Sarah is also a Marriage Therapist, Bespoke Funeral Director and End-of-Life Consultant. You can visit her website www.sarahtolmie.com.au and Facebook page at Sarah Tolmie – Life & Love.