You might be asking yourself why are you having such a hard time coping with this global pandemic? Why is it changing the parent that I was? The answer is easy. You do not feel safe. You are stressed and overwhelmed, and struggle with the reality of what is happening to your house, your job, and your community during these uncertain times. But that is okay! Here are some self-care strategies that you can use to try to get back in control, reduce stress, and be the parent that your children need you to be.
These self-care activities are not a one size fits all. Try them out, use what works best for you! Enjoy the process, sit back, relax, and take a deep breath!
Self-Care for your Mind.
- Have a daily routine. This is especially important if working from home. It can also be beneficial to keep the littles on a routine.
- Set goals each day. They do not have to be big goals, just something to leave you feeling accomplished.
- Read a book. If you cannot find time during the day to do this alone, have a family silent reading time.
- Practice mindfulness. This can be difficulty if the household is chaotic, but if practiced, it can help you stay grounded and in the present. Mindfulness is being aware of the present moment and accepting it for what it is. What does that mean? Do not critique or judge your current situation, allow your mind to feel everything going on around you and be in tune with your senses. What do you hear? See? Smell? Accept those for what they are currently.
- Take breaks. Just because you are working from home, or homeschooling does not mean you do not deserve a break! It is important to get recharged and take time for yourself.
- Develop a project or new activity. Do you have a favorite hobby you have been neglecting? Now is the time to get it started.
- Journal. Writing in a journal can be hard to start at first. You can search up different ways to start a journal or picking topics to write about. Once you get started, your mind will take over and do the rest. (Or join in for our meditative art journaling group.)
- Express your feelings. If you are angry, or sad, or happy, whatever the emotion, try to figure out why. Where is that emotion coming from? Communicate with your family and allow them to do the same. You do not always have to express your emotion when they are building up, incorporate this into a family time activity so it becomes routine.
Self-Care for your Soul
- Ask for help. This is new territory for most of us parents and we are all just figuring it out as we go along. Let’s stick together and help each other out!
- Tell someone you love them. You might think they know, or maybe you already told them. Tell them again! It is good for the both of you!
- Reach out to someone who may need you. There are a lot of parents who are feeling like they are not doing things right, or who have given everything by the end of the day. One quick message might turn their day around, and you will be part of that!
- Connect with whatever inspires you. There are good and bad aspects of social media, find some feel good sites, and get connected with your inspirations. Use this quarantine time to get to know your what inspires you.
- Create a retreat space. If you do not have an area in your house that is dedicated just for you, now is the time to get one! Even if it is just a wall or a corner, decorate it to make you feel good when you see it. A retreat area that will assist you in feeling positive energy when you need it. It should be comfortable and safe for you!
Self-Care for the Body
- · Take a walk. This can be a face paced walk to get your heart rate up or just simply a walk in the woods to invigorate your senses. Which ever you are choosing (maybe a combination of both), keep it up! You are doing good! Make time for yourself and your body!
- · Get good sleep. As a parent this is almost like saying just relax. But it is important! Yes, ideally 8 hours of solid sleep will give your brain the rest that it needs. How about we just focus on getting quality sleep during whatever sleep hours you have? Practice a sleep routine every night. Let your body know that it is time to go to bed. Brush teeth, limit screen time, listen to soothing music, ect. Allowing your body to prepare for sleep will get your mind in calm down mode, and hopefully falling asleep quickly making the most of the sleep time you have.
- · Practice Mindfulness. Mindfulness is being aware of the present moment and accepting it for what it is. What does that mean? Do not critique or judge your current situation, allow your mind to feel everything going on around you and be in tune with your senses. What do you hear? See? Smell? Accept those for what they are currently.
- · Eat healthy foods and snacks. Get in the practice of using other coping skills, keep your body healthy. Your body wants good food to give you energy. Eating a balanced diet and snacks will make you feel better and keep your mind clearer so you can handle life’s situations.
- · Limit alcohol and caffeine intake. It is better to have healthy coping skills in place so that you do not resort to drinking alcohol to handle situations. If you do not know if this is a problem for you, the next time you are stressed see if you say to yourself “man I just need a drink.” As for caffeine, even though as parents some of us NEED our caffeine, too much of it may leave us feeling anxious and unable to sleep at night. Moderation is the key.
- · Get up and dance. Your body is also waiting some feel-good stress-free dance! Play some music and get up and good your blood pumping! This will not only be good as exercise, mindfulness with music, but also fun!!