Healthy habits for nannies during COVID-19

As most of Victoria goes back into lockdown, most of my time has been spent on the phone working out how families are going maintain the balance with the removal of most childcare solutions.  The lack of information and decisions for the nanny industry has been nothing short of frustrating.  Overall, most people I talk to are trying to do the right thing but I for one feel helpless towards making any real decisions with so much still unclear.  The fact is, that an industry as small as ours is not going to get special treatment in a specific ruling.  Like most things the Australian Nanny Industry will be lumped in with another small industry and the decision will not reflect the true nature of our important work. 
The past few days have been hard and I can put most frustrations down to people being unable to make a decision on how to proceed.  I could write a huge blog on the 100s of scenarios to consider and tell you what I think is the right or wrong thing to do but let’s face it, that advice will probably be irrelevant in a couple of days.  So instead, I want to flip the narrative to get us all thinking about what we do have control over and how we can all keep making informed decisions to keep everyone safe while still providing families with our essential nanny services.

You’re allowed to make the call

Our job is to care for families so we naturally put a lot of heart and soul into the role.  When our families feel stress, we feel it too so the last few weeks many nannies have felt the burden as families are have their world flipped upside down.  One thing I want to make clear to every nanny is that the decision to continue working really does rest with you.  It is not up to you to carry your family through lockdown so if your own safety is at risk and you need to make the call, you have every right to do so.

Be realistic to what you can achieve

Most nanny roles that have continued through lockdown restrictions have had a dramatic shift in duties/responsibilities.  As schools close and parents set up office in the lounge room, nannies suddenly have a lot more on their plate and the stress can take it’s toll.  If you’re anything like me, you’re still going to be trying to juggle all the tasks that you used to achieve in an empty house and that expectation is not sustainable.  Times are tough at the moment, set up your workload to reflect what’s possble without burning out.  Trust me, any decent family will understand.

Look after your mental health

Remember to step back and acknowledge this for what it is – a global crisis.  Your nanny work can be a good distraction to stay busy but consider what habits you’re forming outside of work.  How are you supposed to care for others if you don’t take care of yourself?  Meditation and yoga are a great way to start or end the day if you need to quiet your mind (I recommend Insight Timer as a free app for 100s of guided meditations).  If you’re going home to an empty house, find some ways to connect virtually or pick up the phone for a chat with family and friends.  This style of connecting is new for many but with this being the new normal for awhile we all have to get used to it.  My advice is to just dive in because the more you do it, the more natural and easy it will feel.

If you need to talk to someone, Lifeline have 24/7 support via phone or text.  You don’t have to suffer in silence.  Infact, many are experiencing the need to talk to someone for the first time in their life.

Stay active

Staying active doesn’t mean you should be ready to run a marathon by the time things return to normal.  Make small steps towards how you could be more active in the home.  Nothing crazy, just some fun habits that are easy to manage.   Why not get the kids involved in choosing different ways to move around?  I use to do 10 pushups at every shift.  It was a small goal but it became routine with the kids often reminding me if I didn’t do it.  Slowly it grew into us often doing yoga together.  While restrictions stop you from going out freely, you know you can get out for one our a day so make sure you do so every day you can. 

Give yourself permission

As life takes new shape, remember to be kind to yourself!  We all need to feel less guilty for how we are coping and getting through each day.  For me personally, TV and gaming have always been a huge distraction for me.  These days, this is a habit that I love and it helps pass the time.  If you feel like being lazy, give yourself full permission to do so.  These are weird times where we have to do what we can to cope.

Be informed but not too informed

Things are changing on the daily and following the news relentlessly isn’t going to be good for anyone.  Try and set up a time each day where you jump on to read the latest.  Research your sources and be more aware of the type of news you are taking in.  Be wary of click bait and research your trustes sources, a lot of content on news sites right now is just stressful speculations.  I recommend your official governement announcements and ABC news.  

Parents working from home?

I recently recorded some tips for families that are now working from home alongside their nanny.  I know first hand how much this adjustment can strain any working relationship.  I’m leaving it here in the hopes that it can help some nannies in bringing tips into their new crowded workplace. 

Finally, remember how important your work is.  Right now we are in unprecidented times and the support your are providing to your families is truly making all the difference.  I hope this has helped!  Feel free to share it to any nanny who may need to hear it!

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