How to take self-care seriously and find space to nurture your own personal wellbeing in quarantine.
For how many weeks have you been staying at home and socially distancing? Or, maybe the better question is, “how long does it feel like you’ve been cooped up inside with your (crazy) kids and/or spouse?!”
No matter how long it’s officially been, and how much space you do (or don’t) have, these past weeks have probably felt extraordinarily long and challenging in so many ways.
So, this week, we wanted to send a quick and gentle reminder that it’s not only okay to make time for self-care, it’s essential. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: you’ll do your whole family a favor by focusing on your personal wellbeing (and honoring their needs and requests for the same).
If you’re struggling to find the time and the space for self-care, here are some tips to get you started:
1. Call a family meeting.
If you haven’t yet had a “family meeting,” now might be the time. This doesn’t need to be a formal affair; the goal is simply to discuss the best ways for each member of your household to be supportive of each other’s wellbeing at this time.
If your kids are old enough to be a part of the discussion, include them. If not, make it adults-only. And if you’re a single mom, sit down with your thoughts—or call a trusted friend or family member who can serve as a sounding board—and brainstorm the best strategies for you to get through each day in the healthiest, most sane way possible.
2. Embrace both chaos—and structure.
Nothing is perfect right now. And you’re not competing for a “best parent of 2020” award. Remind yourself that this is a naturally chaotic time—for every parent and kid out there—and you are doing the best you can.
That said: structure is your (and your children’s) friend. If you haven’t yet gotten into the groove of whatever virtual learning may or may not be available to you and your kid(s), don’t fret. But, try to keep to some kind of schedule each day—even if it’s as simple as dedicating a set time for lunch, snack, dinner, and bedtime.
3. Schedule a time when everyone in the house agrees to leave you alone.
Yes, alone time. Glory hallelujah! You know yourself better than anyone else does, and you know what you need in order to feel sane. Maybe it’s 30 minutes of yoga without fear of interruption. Maybe it’s reading a chapter in whatever book is on your nightstand. Maybe it’s 10 minutes of sitting and doing absolutely nothing. Whatever it is, find time to make it happen, and stick to it. Ask your family members to do their very best not to intrude on your me-time. And do the same for them and their alone-time needs.
(If you are caring for a baby or other very young children, and there’s another adult in your home, schedule a time every day for each of you to claim sole responsibility for the children’s care.)
Listen to your body. Eat regularly; stay nourished; get out for fresh air or a walk or run if it’s possible. Stretch.
Listen to your soul. Would you benefit by starting the day with a 5-minute meditation? Can you adopt an attitude of gratefulness for the positive things in your life? Focus on the good fortune you have to be able to quarantine for your own health and that of your community.
Listen to your family. Cherish them, even when there’s altogether too much “together time.” Be forgiving, and ask them for the same.
5. When in doubt, wait until everyone’s asleep and savor whatever-it-is-that-you-will-most-enjoy-right-now.
Tea. Wine. Whatever TV show you are binge-watching. A bubble bath. Whatever will make you feel more relaxed and more able to tackle tomorrow, do that. As a mom, your inclination is probably to take care of everyone else first. And, for that and many other reasons, you are an everyday superhero—but even superheroes need a break and some self-care.
Everyone in your household is struggling to address their own set of unique needs and demands at this time. You and/or your spouse may be trying to juggle full-time jobs on top of running a full-time daycare/school. None of this is easy. Take a deep breath, and be as gracious as you can with yourself and each other.
We’re sending nothing but healthy, zen vibes your way—and we’d love to hear from you with any additional tips you may have!