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  • Writer's pictureJessica McQuistin

Communicating Limitations & Needs in a Moment of Self-Care

Oof! These times are not easy.

(For anyone outside of Ontario, I'm referring to another period of Covid-19 restrictions, including kids learning from home once again.)

Sometimes, all we can do is be honest with those around us (if we are fortunate enough to have people around us in these times) about our limits.

The other day, a wave of heaviness hit. My body wanted to crumple and instead of pushing through, I just let it. From where I stood in the corner of the kitchen, on the cushy mat where I do the dishes, and let my body slowly slink down until I softly landed on the mat, leaning against the cupboards.

The kids were eating at the kitchen table in the next room as I sat there on the kitchen floor doing absolutely nothing.

My daughter came and found me (as kids tend to do). Before she could interact with me - or maybe I cut her off mid-stream...she's rarely not talking - I put my hand up and simply said, "I can't talk right now, I can't listen right now, but you can sit beside me."

She nodded and did just that. Her little body pressed against the side of mine, and she took deep breaths. I felt her side expand against mine and it was as if she was breathing into my lungs. Our breath synced and the tension inside my body lessened ever so slightly. We shared a moment in silence, just breathing and being together. And it was just what I needed.

The wave passed and I continued on with my day. There were ups and downs, but that moment really stood out. I was surprised to have found those words that expressed exactly what I needed, and that were easily understood by my 6-year-old. It's a small miracle that she listened to me and didn't object, but the first step to getting your needs met is identifying them, and articulating them. I haven't had a lot of words lately - an odd thing for a blogger! - but I'm grateful that those words found their way out of my mouth in that moment.

My hope for you today is that you can find the words to express what it is that you need, what you're capable of doing today, and what you're not willing or able to do.

On a brighter note, here are a few games that we've been playing lately, that have brought us moments of joy, connection, screen-free time, and just plain fun:

  • Bananagrams (a quick, simpler version of Scrabble in a cute banana bag - ages 7+)

  • Sleeping Queens (an excellent children's game with math equations built in - great for ages 4-5+ in my opinion, though the box suggests 8+)

  • Azul (a unique and beautiful tile-building game that's quickly become one of our newest faves - ages 8+)

What are your family's favourite games? I'm always up for suggestions!

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