Riding the waves of uncertainty with stormbreak
Five ways to support children’s mental and physical health as they manage the uncertainty of being at home during lockdown, returning to school, missing friends and family and reconnecting with each other.
Uncertainty is difficult for us all to manage. The worries, anxieties, concerns and fears are tied in with hopefulness and the anticipation of change and it is this mixture of conflicting emotions that makes it so hard for us to make sense of. The mixture of these feelings come in waves that means our moods shift; we can be unpredictable in our responses to each other and sometimes it’s the small things that cause us more stress because under the surface is the anxiety of not knowing, the anxiety of uncertainty and not being able to have control over certain aspects of our lives. This is hard for us all.
With stormbreak, and as trusted adults who can stormbreak with our children, we can help them to talk about their anxieties, their worries and their hopes and help them to feel heard, supported and understood.
We experience uncertainty in different ways with a range of feelings and thoughts that come to the surface. At stormbreak, we have talked to children and listened to what they have to say about uncertainty and we have put together some ways to help.
1. Fears and Self Care
When things are uncertain we can experience some difficult feelings like fear, worry, sadness or anxiety and it is important that we notice how we are feeling, become aware of any sensations we have and recognise how our feelings affect us physically and mentally. Then, by accepting these emotions and recognising that it is ok to have any of the feelings we are having, we can begin to take care of ourselves.
Listen here to what some of the children said about uncertainty and the worries and fears they have.
It is important that we give ourselves permission to feel whatever we are feeling however difficult or uncomfortable that might be and then take action to take care of ourselves. Talking to someone we trust, doing activities that energise or calm us down like going for a walk, appreciating nature, running, jumping through puddles, mindfulness, noticing our breathing and doing exercise can all help us to feel in balance and able to cope with uncertainty.
Some of our stormbreaks can really help us to take care of ourselves too. Have a go at Move to the seasons.
2. Changes and our Relationships
Relationships change and grow through time and that is ok! But it can be hard when relationships change because of situations and circumstances that are out of our control. When will I see my friends again, will we still be friends when we go back to school? What if we fall out? Will it ever be the same again? It’s not the same not being able to play, laugh and be together even though we can chat online. These are just some of the thoughts around our relationships and manages the changes that have happened because of lockdown and because friendships do change over time.
Listen here to what some of the children said about their friendships and how they may have changed.
It is important to recognise that friendships do change over time but that we can repair relationships, make new ones and allow them to change and grow again. Having time together, doing stormbreak together, laughing and being with each other feels great, so enjoy these stormbreaks and celebrate the fun times of being together with our friends and family again. Try the stormbreak Copy cats.
3. Challenges and Resilience
Bouncing back from adversity is not easy. Recognising that we will all face adversity and challenge in our lives and some of the things that happen to us are not in our control, is part of developing resilience. It is about being able to weather the storm of uncertainty with the support of trusted adults. It is being able to have another go at things that challenge us, finding the inner strength to overcome disappointment, or frustration and being able to try again despite feeling blocked by challenges we might face through uncertain times. Our trusted adults are essential in supporting, encouraging and believing in us as we build resilience to bounce back and give something another go.
Listen here to what some of the children said about the challenges they face.
Have a go at the stormbreak Ranagram to help build resilience through the challenges we face.
4. Loss and Self-worth
When we face uncertainty there are inevitable losses that may occur. Loss comes in many forms and could be simply the loss of something as you have previously known it to be, like not being able to see friends or family or go to school or work as you would normally do. We may experience loss in the form of friendship loss; not seeing someone as regularly and not having the usual contact, loss of things you enjoy doing, loss of something you were looking forward to like an activity, event or special celebration, loss of someone in a more permanent way through illness or bereavement. Loss in its many forms is painful and can impact how we feel about ourselves as it can make us feel alone. We can sometimes question ourselves and our own self worth especially in times when we are feeling a sense of loss. It is important to know we matter and to look after our own wellbeing, to believe in ourselves and value ourselves too.
Listen here to what some of the children said about loss.
Have a go at Classroom rockstars to remind you of how much you matter, how we can celebrate our own strengths and unique characteristics.
5. Hopefulness and optimism - Share Hope and Optimism
Despite adversity and things being uncertain, we can have feelings of hope and optimism; looking forward to things in the future and having a sense of anticipation for how things may change. It is tricky to keep a positive mindset all of the time but we can help children feel optimistic and hopeful by listening to and validating their ideas and interests, by encouraging them to have a go at something new. Sometimes we may even be surprised by what uncertainty may bring allowing us to have new challenges, hopes and dreams for the future.
Listen to what some of our children said here.
Have a go at the stormbreak Moon and stars. It helps us to celebrate our hopes and gives us the confidence to look forward to the future.
We hope you can enjoy these stormbreaks together every day to help with the uncertainty that we are faced with. And that they can help us with our mental and physical wellbeing. Register for the stormbreak challenge and complete a personal stormbreak journey earning awards and certificates along the way. Sign up at www.stormbreak.org.uk.