Restoratively building community
“You can’t pour from an empty cup”
CRJI work restoratively with families, this means we focus on strengthening connections, building relationships, and improving behaviours, we work with families holistically supporting them to effectively resolve conflict.
We recognise that this is no easy feat, especially given the difficulties that accompany Covid-19, the lockdown restrictions have caused the evaporation of routine in most families, with isolation often having a deteriorating impact on parents and young peoples’ support systems.
A number of families reported to CRJI increased anxiety and stress levels, with one parent commenting “I’m feeling overwhelmed, normally their grandparents are such a big help, but now they can’t even visit, and with the kids not being in school, they’re eating me out of house and home! They just fighting with each other constantly, it is exhausting”.
Taking into consideration the added pressures of home schooling, financial constraints, health worries, then combine this with trying to work from home, it would test just about anyone. Thus, challenging parents’ ability to emotionally self-regulate, support their child’s containment and de-escalation, it becomes increasingly taxing to communicate calmly or remain consistent with boundaries. Jacqueline Devenney, CRJI’s family support worker is a trained holistic therapist and an experienced restorative practitioner, she has been continuing to work closely with families, (via socially distancing measures and virtually) to provide practical help and advice. This ranges from delivering food parcels, assisting families to access technology, providing home schooling resources, creating new chore charts, offering a listening ear, arranging “at home activities”, supporting parenting restoratively, facilitating family circles, developing coping strategies, helping children to adapt to the “new normal” etc.
Self-care is pivotal, as primary caregivers it is so important that parents take initiative and look after their own mental, emotional, and physical health so that they can care for their children’s well-being. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety, it should not be neglected, as the saying goes “you cannot pour from an empty cup”. Self-care is often falsely perceived as something indulgent, it will look different to each individual, some examples include; staying hydrated, fuelling your body, spending time in nature, catching up on sleep, taking time out to acknowledge your own feelings, exercising, etc.
To emphasis the importance of self-care, CRJI distributed “Pamper Packs” to our families which were designed for both adults and children, items included:
· Face Masks
· Bath bombs with essential oils
· Self-care tips
· Mindfulness Exercise
· Art Therapy Books and colouring
· Treats & hot chocolate
· Shower items
Jackie, CRJI’s family support worker commented “Encouraging our families to take part in the pamper weekend was not only a treat in itself but can enhance mindfulness which can help individuals to focus on the present moment rather than rehashing the past and worrying about what the future may hold. Most of all they had fun!”
As encouraged responded with their self-care hacks, “a family walk together in Colinglen Park”, “Logging off from social media- when it becomes too negative”, “Getting up before anyone else and enjoying a cup of coffee in total peace”.