Virtual school was a reality (again) for many of us recently. I am not particularly interested in more days of school from home, but I do have to give my son credit for managing it pretty well all things considered.
One day was particularly challenging however...
My son was using my iPad to connect to his Google Classroom and this had been working fine. On this day we inadvertently forgot to plug in the iPad at the start of the school day. But, the battery had been fully charged the night before so we figured it wouldn't be an issue. Unfortunately we underestimated the battery power that would be needed, and didn’t remember to plug in the iPad again or check on the battery level until half way through the day - when my son suddenly declared that he had only 3% battery left. Before we could get the iPad plugged in, the screen went black and my son started melting down (he’s 5, it happens).
After some deep breaths all around, the iPad was reconnected to the charging cord, but as is often the case when the battery has drained all the way, it was slow to start back up. A few minutes later the iPad restarted but we then discovered that the cord didn’t seem to be connecting properly and as a result while the battery was trying to recharge it was draining even faster. It was only moments before the screen went black again and the meltdown picked up where it had left off.
While trying to help my son calm down, I scrambled to set up a back up device but discovered that my old iPad mini (from 9 years ago - possibly the oldest iPad still in working condition!) was not even capable of downloading Google Classroom. As a last resort I switched to my also-old-but-less-old phone. Again first had to wait to download Google Classroom and then sign in. Finally - probably only 5 minutes later but it felt like hours - we were back on line and my son regrouped and continued on with his school day.
Reflecting on this experience, I was really struck by the parallels with how we take care of our own ‘batteries’. For example, often assuming that we have enough energy and resources to make it through the day without intentionally checking in on how we are doing, especially when the unexpected happens, or without making sure that we actually have an effective way of restoring our energy.
These days it’s part of common language to talk about ‘recharging our batteries’. But how often do we simply chalk this up to trying to get some rest at night and then ignore what our batteries might need throughout the day? How much consideration do we give to even the small things that can give us an energy boost? Not that 10% battery is a sustainable place, but 10% is a heck of a lot more than 3% and would have likely prevented this meltdown situation. Also tuning into the problem sooner (i.e., before getting to meltdown level!) would have been pretty valuable.
So how can you keep your battery sufficiently charged? While the specifics are going to be different for each of us, we can all benefit from broadly focusing on our 4 pillars: Connection, Compassion, Courage, and Creativity.
To help us all do this, and in recognition of Psychology Month, we are excited to announce some upcoming activities in February:
1) On Friday February 25 we will be holding a FREE one hour webinar all about our fresh take on self-care for female mental health clinicians. Please click here for more details and to register. We will also be recording the session so if you can’t make it we will send the replay to everyone who registers.
2) Throughout the month of February we will be releasing a series of interviews we recently recorded with a few amazing fellow female mental health professionals. Stay tuned for more details on this ‘pop-up podcast’ all about redefining our self-care!
In the meantime, wishing everyone a fully charged battery and a functioning charging cord!