Between negative headlines, major life changes and feelings of uncertainty, it’s not easy to put on rose colored glasses these days. But one does not need to ignore the bad in order to see the good.
Life Coach, Tracey L. Martin, offers her advice on staying positive and helping ourselves – and our kids – to become more resilient.
Q: Once again, milestones like graduation and prom are likely going to look a lot different. How can we help our kids cope with the disappointments?
A: There are a few ways to look at this. In life we will have disappointments and we need to learn how to deal with them and cope with the feelings they leave us with. However, our kids were never allowed to really feel disappointment. Ever since the “everyone gets a trophy era.” We have not parented our kids through these kind of life situations. That is why Covid has exposed the weakness in everyone. We need to learn to talk about them openly and honestly. These events like prom and graduations are markers in our kids lives of their growth. As parents, we need to make sure these are still put in place. They may look differently but they still need to exist.
Start a dialogue Talk with other parents that are likeminded and put an event in place for the kids and their friend groups. Make sure to take lots of photos and videos. One of the main sources of our kids excitement is sharing their experiences with each other.
Charge a small fee for the “prom” or “graduation.” Take this money and ask the group where they want to donate it. This will help them see that even in difficult times, they can help one another. Maybe a family who’s parents have lost a job due to Covid or costs to cover a plane ticket for someone to get to see family. You get the idea.
Have an open discussion Talk about what they have experienced over the past year without judgement or your own perspective. Their’s is uniquely their’s so don’t dilute it with a “parent’s world view” because you might lose their attention.
Q: For teens who may be shutting down, what is the best way to start the conversation?
A: Our teens will communicate when they are ready. Yes, ask and inquire but DO NOT interrogate. What you are thinking is probably 10 times worse than what is going on. They need space. However, be in engaged when you ask them how they are. Don’t be on your phone. Don’t interrupt them. Allow them to feel what they are feeling. Then put solutions in place to guide them to a better place. They may want to open up at 2:00 am in the morning. If that is the case, get out of bed and sit with them.
Q: Can you share some tips for adults who may be suffering from Covid fatigue and feeling lonely and depressed?
A: So many people decided to use this time as an excuse to let themselves slide. Honestly, it was a great opportunity to turn inward and focus on what is truly important. I coach a lot of parents on this topic. One of our biggest deficits as an evolved person is our inability to take action.
Get outside and walk. Your scenery and environment directly influence your mood.
Call a friend and face time them. When people wear masks everywhere they go we miss the smiles and the expressions on everyones face. The simplest form of human communication and connection are imperative for our well being.
Seek out educational podcasts. They are great to listen to in your car or at home. It keeps your mind focused and helps to combat negative thoughts.
Q: For those who are choosing to or forced to start over in their careers post pandemic, what advice can you share?
A: This can be an interesting turn of events. Of course, there is always the devastating outcomes of a job and financial loss. What if you were complacent in your current position and you now have an opportunity to seek something more fulfilling? Maybe something that you didn’t see a pathway to? I like to coach on teaching clients to reframe situations. We often times get stuck and only see one way of thinking. However, there is always another view if we are wiling to be open to the possibilities. Always mitigate the things that can have the most negative effects and then be ready to look at obstacles instead of opportunities.
Q: What silver linings have you taken away from this period of time?
A: For me personally, I will always seek the positive. More time with family, the quiet moments to design and implement ideas for my business and family. There are no excuses, just choices made during difficult circumstances.
I would like to share with you a few comments that came from this question that I posed to some of my teen/young adult clients:
What have you learned about yourself during this time in our world?
-To be grateful for the small things that God has blessed me with T.W.
-That life can be very complex and we as humans need to be prepared for it W.W.
-I learned how much I value and am grateful for my community L.Z.
-That I am not happy just watching Netflx, I love adventure. I am bored! E.C.
Tracey L. Martin
Tracey has been coaching clients in the areas of physical training, mindset conditioning, and mental toughness for over 27 years. She helps individuals, families and organizations create an environment of growth to deal with past traumas, life experiences and impacts of the world.