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A message from Jay Vaughan during lockdown

Posted in: Blog News Tips

Dear families, professional colleagues and friends of Family Futures,

Well we are now entering our sixth week of lockdown at Family Futures and seeing virtual working as something that will need to be in place for some time.

It has been an adjustment for all of the team but we are proud that we are still managing to provide support to our families, albeit virtually, our advice line is open and we have just had our first virtual panel! We have also just launched a series of Webinars to support parents with the first one, a Webinar with Dr Daniel Hughes, booking fast!

Lockdown has been hard for lots of the families we have been in touch with as they have been struggling to manage the stress of the pandemic and how much this situation is triggering trauma issues for their children.

For anyone who has a traumatic history feeling the world is no longer a safe place and other people can potentially be a source of fear is highly evocative. This is no longer a fear state that is just based on a traumatic history but a fear that is based on the reality of what is happening in the here and now. In this way a fear based survival response is a healthy reasonable response to the situation. For children who have had other traumatic experiences in their lives, which mean that their nervous systems are wired to stress, then the extent to which they are activated is much more extreme.

We are in a war situation and at such times calming our stress response so we can make good strategic decisions about how to survive is key.

Calming our nervous system is even more important than it would be in other war situations as it is our bodies that are under attack! We absolutely need to support our nervous system now, more than ever, so that our immune systems are in a good shape to manage the attack.

So how do we manage such immense stress and keep sane?

We need to be curious about how we are managing this stress, asking ourselves:

  • How is our body managing this crisis?
  • Is our heart beating faster?
  • What increases our heart rate?
  • What calms our heart rate?
  • How is our breathing?
  • Is that faster too?
  • Are we breathing higher in our chests?
  • What can make our breathing calm?
  • Can the breathing settle lower in the belly?
  • How is our skin temperature?
  • Is it hotter or colder at different times of the day?
  • Are some bits of our body constantly too cold or too hot?
  • What feels a good body temperature?
  • Do we have more aches and pains than normal?
  • Do we have more somatic symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches etc?

So we just need to notice and be curious about what our body is telling us:

  • What information is our body sharing with us?
  • We need to think what resources us?
  • How can we calm our stress response?
  • What nurtures us and helps us feel good inside?
  • What or who helps us manage optimally at times of stress?

As parents we need to look after ourselves first, and our own body and nervous system responses, so that we are able to attend to our children’s nervous systems too. We need to find our own ‘oxygen mask’ and put this on so that we can in turn help our children put on their ‘oxygen mask’ too.

We are living in extraordinary times and what is happening in the world was unthinkable to most of us only a few months ago. We keep the hope that this time will pass and life will return to something more akin to ‘normal’ in the future. But for now we should be kind to ourselves and have compassion for ourselves as we are managing as best we can.

With love from Jay and all the team at Family Futures

27 April 2020

Jay will be running 2 self-care webinars for parents/carers on 27 May, 8-9pm and 11 June, 2-3pm

Jay Vaughan is the CEO and Registered Manager at Family Futures CIC. Jay is a Certified Theraplay therapist and supervisor as well as a Theraplay trainer. She is also a state registered Dramatherapist, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapist and Somatic Experience Practitioner.

If you have a question for us at Family Futures about how we can support you at this time of heightened stress and anxiety, please email us or call our advice line: 020 7354 4161.

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