How can I stay creative and positive in the midst of everything?! 🤔
Share this link with friends at bit.ly/ParentsCreativity
First released March 20, 2020. Last updated September 20, 2020
by Monica H. Kang, InnovatorsBox
Intention / My Hope🙏🏻
I’ve always admired my friends with children in how they balance the delicate art of work and life. It was already hard, now it's getting harder. At least pre-COVID we had an office life and a home life. Now those two worlds have merged—and the entire world is trying to figure it out.
I understand how you as parents are also working to navigate this at home. I wrote this with deep respect and love for the courage and creative challenges you are working through.
I’m not a parent. I’m a human being who wants to empower others to be limitless with creativity and positivity no matter what the situation is. Just like you, I don’t have all the answers. And I hope these resources can help you stay creative, be positive, and find peace in the midst of uncertainty. I also hope that this spurs ongoing conversations around how to rethink the balancing our family life and professional life post COVID-19. It’s ok to feel incomplete and messy right now. It’s ok to acknowledge that you need a break. And it’s also true that in the end it will be ok. We will walk through this storm to see the rainbow at the end.
If you have anything to add or ask, please email me at [email protected].
Monica H. Kang
Founder & CEO, InnovatorsBox
NOTE: I am not a medical professional. I only intend to share resources that will help us be more mindful, inclusive, and creatively empowered. For any medical or virus related news please go to WHO, CDC, and other channels. Because my speciality is unlocking a creative mindset in workplace culture, leadership, and team development I’m going to focus solely on the tools of creativity—not the virus.
I hope this will help spread more positivity and kindness.
“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”
What I Cover HERE ⚡️
How do I get from 😱 to 🤔?
First, it's ok to acknowledge how we feel right now.
Am I feeling overwhelmed because my calendar is out of control?
Because I was on calls for 8 hours without a break?
Because my children are asking for my attention and I’m on a deadline?
Actually, it's really important to be aware how we are really feeling right now.
The key is to break your feelings down into tangible and manageable actions.
- Take the time to process how and why you are feeling the way you do,
- Explore what immediate solutions are available and if they aren’t available explore why it feels this way,
- Decide how to communicate and take action.
Thoughtful empathetic communication is key.
How we say things matters.
Language is powerful. It mends us and hurts us. Miscommunication is bound to happen when we say things out of habit, fear, or nervousness. And being home more with everyone means we may say things unintentionally to hurt one another. How can we avoid that? Not just how we say things to others but also how we tell stories to our own self?
Here are several places to start:
- Pause before saying/doing things out of habit.
- See things from an eye of curiosity.
- Choose how and when to respond.
- Schedule “me time” to think, reflect, connect, and take care of yourself.
- Actively observe your feelings.
Each action, large or small, has powerful results. It puts you in a more proactive state than a reactive state which is critical to how we give our mind space to process and reflect instead of react.
You can always choose what to do with what you are feeling. You don’t have to let your reaction decide how you will respond to a situation.
I noticed _____.
I wonder _____.
When we use these phrases when we speak or reflect, it permits us to be curious and pause instead of reacting to a situation. Try it!
Even a five second pause can give us space.
Questions you can ask to reframe
your stress and emotions:
- What am I grateful for today?
- What new skills am I learning that I’m excited about?
- What brings me joy?
- What have I learned in the past that has helped me be prepared for this?
- What am I looking forward to doing today or this week?
- Why is this a powerful moment to connect with the family?
- What was the last time I did something that brought me joy?
- What am I looking forward to sharing and doing with my family? Why?
My kids are bored.
What do I do? 😅
While there are tons of great free resources for educators and parents online now, it’s not easy to determine where to start or how to make use of them given everything that is competing for your attention.
Here are several suggestions to make this transition more manageable and fun:
1. “CC Time” - Creative Connection Time.
Set a time where you regularly connect with your family to create and be fully present.
I call this CC time: creative connection time. This can be during a meal or during a set hour either before or after ‘work hours’ or over the weekend. The key is to dedicate a consistent time to unplug from our devices, be fully present with our family members, and do something creative. It may be something that you lead as a parent. It may be something your children take turns creating. Make it fun but most importantly routine to ensure everyone looks forward to it, dedicates effort to it, and is fully present. Even when this crisis passes, CC Time can be a powerful way to connect with your family!
2. Rediscover Adventures and Problem-Solving
Opportunities at Home
Ignite your creativity by actively utilizing every resource you have at home!
Everything can be reused for something else, or repurposed into something else. Invite your family members, children and adults, to challenge themselves to rethink how they see, or use, your home. If you don’t have a home office, challenge your family members to help you transform a space into your home, or create a space for your computer that is suitable for video calls. Need more “me time” without coming across the “wrong” way? Challenge your family to create “do not disturb” signs as a positive way to give each other space. Seeing your home as a place for discovery and adventure can set the stage for children to be curious and adventurous outside of the home, too.
(Our ReImagine, SPARK and Infinity Cards are a great tool to help facilitate this!)
3. Co-Creation Opportunities
Invite children to co-create with your family!
Moments are powerful.
It would be sad for us to reach post-COVID19 and not capitalize on the opportunity to deeply connect, share (and make) fun memories, and learn about our family members more deeply than ever before. This is a unique opportunity. How do we make the most out of it?
While this approach may depend on how old your children are, the intentional thought in how you co-create activities, initiatives, and roles at home will help you alleviate the pressure that you have to figure all of this out alone. Sharing the creation role also means sharing ownership which will empower children and other family members to use their voice. It’s also great practice in leadership, communication, and planning that will serve your children in the future.
Here are several ideas—some created by me, and some shared by others—to help you co-create moments with your loved ones.
1. Master a new skill and make time to celebrate the learning together
Whether it's cooking, video editing, music, drawing, or dancing, 30 days is a good amount of time to master a new skill or hone an existing one. If a child already has interest in one, ask them how they would use this month to dedicate time and discipline to master it. Set weekly reporting time so they share progress and you can celebrate weekly milestones together.
2. Create a new experience/routine together
What are things you or your family have wanted to do for a while that you put aside? List a few items and explore how each week, as a family, you make time to do them and share the journey. The list will keep you accountable and also forward thinking.
I’ve seen friends creating Hogwarts experiences at home with their children and filming them into mini video clips. They’ve made costumes and learned video editing. I’ve also seen families where their college-age children put a list of life-skills together they want to learn such as sewing, cooking, computers, and personal finance. Then family members are assigned to be professors for each life skill.
Creating “me time” as my two worlds collide 😀.
Every family member needs “me-time” and time for self-care!
It’s not selfish. It’s an investment in you that allows you to recharge in order to be more present, reflective, and happy with our family members. To make the most out of this, you’ll want to first:
- Know what brings you joy and happiness,
- Know what brings your energy down,
- Know how you can make time and space to do the things that bring you joy
- Know how you can give a signal to your family members that you need your “me time”
- And know what your other family members’ “me time” signals look like.
In other words, self-awareness, open communication, and compassionate understanding for every family member will be activated. This will allow you to be creative and find joy while respecting, and honoring space for everyone to stay positive, sane, and creative.
Here are different approaches:
0 to toddler
*New* Life Hacks to save time and sanity 🛎
When things are busy, it's easy to slip back into a routine and stay on auto-pilot. Our brain loves habits because it helps us minimize decision making. If that’s the case, why don’t we take this opportunity to build new habits that will make life easier as a parent?
Here are several ideas that have been created with the support of my friends who are working parents.
If you have an idea you’d like to share with others, do email me!
Rethink Energy Management
Regulate What You Watch
More Resources For You
I hope this adds positivity to your day.
Here are additional resources I created that I hope will help you stay positive and creative. We have to pace ourselves and be mindful. We’ll get through this. If you have any other questions and ideas, please reach out via email at [email protected].
P.S. I Hope This Makes You Smile Today 😉
This is a marathon.
Stay positive, healthy, and empathetic!
with love, Monica H. Kang
Share this with others at bit.ly/ParentsCreativity
GET YOUR DIGITAL COPY TO STAY CREATIVE.
I CAN EMAIL YOU.