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Thriving in Lockdown? Yes, It's Possible.

This week we are featuring a local story of a family that has been sheltering in place for a year, and the things they have learned. Mom of the family, Hanna Schaer, is a peaceful and gentle parenting expert who lead her family to lean into the challenges of lockdown and shelter in place, ending up with a thriving family and lots of lessons learned.

By Holly Grattan & Hanna Schaer

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Thriving in lockdown? There must be a back story to this.
There sure is. Around this time last year, our family started sheltering in place. My husband works with a Chinese team and he heard early on some pretty scary stories. We saw what was coming, and since I have an auto immune disease we decided that to keep our family safe and sound, our priority was to not get the virus. Since then, we learned a lot of ways and things to do, not only to survive sheltering in place, but to thrive.
What did you do differently?
We knew it was going to take some time, we didn't, and still don't know how long, but we knew we had to structure our life a little different. We looked at our daily structure, what we needed to stay sane and healthy. We looked at how our lives were different and made changes to support that. Most things if not all things we have and do in our "normal" lives can be tweaked and adjusted to fit in a shelter in place situation. And it is possible to not only survive, but to find joy and thrive, even while missing things like our friends.
What has been the most challenging thing for you this year?
Missing our friends and family, for sure. I haven't seen my mom since late 2019 and we do miss seeing our friends in person. I am a silver lining seeker though, so to see the positives in that is for example that my mom has learned to FaceTime, we have connected deeper with some friends thanks to technology and there are some unexpected friendships that have happened and deepened this past year for all of us, for that I am very thankful. The pandemic has served as a filter for us also, we now know who shares our values, who don't and we can focus on our friends that bring positivity to our lives.
A lot of families feel a sense of panic thinking of lockdown, how can you reassure them?
There are very simple things to adjust to make your day to day and your mental health situation stable and sustainable. My dad used to say that "what does it matter in a hundred years?" and although it's not the only question to ask, it's a good one. Focus on the things that matter long term. Don't sweat the little things and be generous and kind to yourself on difficult days. At some point the post pandemic world will reveal itself, and we don't know what it will look like, but there are definitely some skills we learned that are useful now that will be useful then too.
You have designed a workshop to help families handle lockdown, can you tell us about it?
Yes, I decided to create a workshop to share some of the things we have learned this past year that other families can do too to make their experience in lockdown better. It is part big picture and mindset and part practical hands on. It happens live this coming weekend, (February 13 & 14) and then the replay is available as a self paced workshop after the live events. I have been teaching online and running courses and workshops for parents and families for the past eleven years, and I thought it would be a great idea to offer support to families who might not have found their thrive in today's situation yet. I know that you can radically improve the situation from where you are now, and I am happy to share that path with you.

Author: Hanna Schaer, is a peaceful and gentle parenting expert who lead her family to lean into the challenges of lockdown and shelter in place, ending up with a thriving family and lots of lessons learned. You can learn more about Hanna's work on www.mamatoto.info and follow her at @mamatoto.info

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