Have other parents noticed this never-ending day feeling during the pandemic reminds you of what it felt like bringing home a newborn? Not knowing what day of the week it is, having no clue what you ate for dinner last night. What’s happening here? In part our unchanging daily routines create a hurdle for our brains to properly index memories and properly mark the passage of time. Dr. Catherine Loveday, professor of cognitive neuroscience, explains:
“Trying to remember what’s happened to you when there’s little distinction between the different days is like trying to play a piano when there are no black keys to help you find your way around.”
One of the ways we’ve tried to combat this phenomenon is using one of the #missingessentials from the Parenting Checklist:
the countdown app
By creating near-term experiences to look forward to and tracking on a countdown app, we’ve created a coping mechanism for our family in the face of so much unknown. Like counting down to birthdays and holidays (Arbor Day anyone?), or going on a hike and berry picking. Many of these apps are free to download and are easily customized. Every morning we check how close we are to our events, continually adding more as special days come and go.
Dr. Lisa Damour, clinical psychologist and author, shares in her practical and helpful podcast her own pandemic experience:
“I’ve become much more aware of the loss of things to look forward to … Increasingly in my own family I’ve created these artificial things to look forward to or like I’ve brought the horizon much closer.”
NOTE: It’s important to also caution against toxic positivity. Insisting that others or oneself keep a ‘positive mindset’ or ‘positive vibes’ regardless of how hard things are can be harmful. Here are some great resources to keep it real and keep it healthy.
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