Maintaining the Whole Family's Well-being During Stressful Times: Tools from Dr. Rita Eichenstein
We sat down with neuropsychologist Dr. Rita Eichenstein to hear about the need for reflection and self-care as parents take on multiplying, shifting roles as parent/caregiver/therapist/teacher. She answered many of our questions and reminded us to continue to reach out to our trusted support network when we need help.
You can review our conversation in this video and the highlights below, and be sure to check out the list of mental health resources compiled by Undivided's research team in our article [Self-Care and Stress Management Resources for the Whole Family(/resources/maintaining-the-whole-familys-well-being-during-stressful-times-tools-from-dr-rita-eichenstein-162).
Reminders from Dr. Rita Eichenstein
"Why don’t we learn to just be? Be in the space. Be with your child. Be with your own mind. You don’t always have to be doing something productive to be feeling worthwhile. As a parent, you aren’t merged with the needs of your child. Not all of your child’s needs are going to get met. You have your own needs apart from your child. It’s okay just to be."
"You are not alone. Reach out any time you feel that feeling of isolation. Create that 911 list. That army is still there for you. You don’t have to be perfect. Cook a family recipe together. Talk about memories. Try to have shared fun experiences. Take a walk, go outside. It’s important to be physical and get moving. Put on dance music. Breathe fresh air. Try to experience nature and grounding together."
Remember the STOP technique.
S - stop what you’re doing and take a pause
T - take a breath
O - observe what’s really going on here
P - proceed mindfully
"Your child is coping the best they can. Lower your perfection standards for them. Lower your own for yourself."
"When a stressful time is over, you should be able to look at the time and say, 'I handled that. There were awful times, but I handled it.' Allow yourself to be in the space without being perfect. Your army is still there. Reach out to your therapists because they are emotional life rafts for parents. Please be kind to yourself."