Updated: Nov 11, 2020
By: Melissa Rosenberger
We have all heard the term self-care about a thousand times in recent years and we all strive to take better care of ourselves in different ways. But what happens when our self-care remedies are going to get our hair or nails done alone? What if it was going for coffee with a friend or family member? How do we actively participate in self-care practices during a global pandemic? It is hard as a parent to figure this out because there has never been a situation like this before. Below are some tips and tricks to take care of ourselves while having to stay home.
1. Take space in your house. Even though staying safe during the pandemic is key for ourselves and our families, you can still find small ways to get breaks in your own home. It may be hard to remember self care when it is three in the afternoon and your 16-month-old is screaming at you and refuses to take a nap. In the past you may have gone to target to walk around, but now you are staying home more often to keep everyone healthy. You can take 5 in your bathroom and breathe deeply, set the kids in front of a screen (YES this IS ok) or ask your partner/friend to take over while you take a shower. Everyone needs space from time to time.
2. Take a walk, jog, or hike. As long as we are being safe with our children there is no reason to not go out into the neighborhood and take a walk, go to the trail near our houses and jog, or even if you can take a nice hike with the kids. We all need some fresh air, so why not go out with the kids and get fresh air together. You can take a book with you and have the kids bring coloring books with them if you are going somewhere they are able to color.
3. After the kids go to sleep at night, have a movie night alone or with your significant other. Spending time by yourself or with your significant other can be a form of self-care. Use that time after the kids go to bed to watch your favorite movie or tv show. Sometimes as parents it feels like all we do is run from one thing to another, but once the kids are asleep, take advantage of that time to watch something you want to watch instead of watching Doc McStuffins for the fifth time in a row. If you can’t stay up much later than the kids, wake up half an hour before them and have a cup of coffee or tea before they wake up. It will give you time to yourself and prepare for the day ahead of you.
4. Find a hobby that you like and go for it! Since the pandemic started, I realized I liked making stuff for people, so I bought myself a ton of vinyl, a silhouette, and now everything in my house has someone’s name on it. Creating things with people’s names, logos, shapes, or pictures on them has made me so happy and be able to do something I like. If you can find a hobby such as journaling, writing reviews, or exercising, there are ways to make it happen at home. Self-care doesn’t have to be getting your nails or hair done, it can be completing a project in the house or a task that you have been wanting to complete for a while.
5. If you always had a coffee date with a friend before Covid, call them and have a coffee date over the phone or virtually via zoom, skype, or facetime. The coffee may not be as good as the café down the street you always went to, but it would be nice to talk to your friend in a regular way again. Try to keep the same schedule if you can when you call or facetime with friends to keep your spirits high during these trying times.
6. Try to keep a schedule and be sure to put in self-care time every week. Making a schedule is important for everyone in the family to know what is happening each day of the week and then nothing is missed. Be sure to write in self-care time one day a week at least to ensure that you get your time to yourself. Be sure to make sure everyone knows where the calendar is and all the important events for the week are there including doctor’s appointments or big school assignments. Keeping a schedule will help everyone stay on track of what they should be doing and prevent a meltdown the night before a project or paper is due.
7. Get a good night’s sleep. The recommended amount of sleep is six to eight hours of sleep per night, and while this may seem hard to accomplish, help yourself get as much well deserved sleep as possible. Try to get off your cell phone and other electronic devices about an hour before you are planning on going to bed. It will help your body and mind get ready for bed.
8. Eat a warm meal and drink enough water. We always make sure that our children eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily along with drinking enough water. We need to remember to take care of ourselves as well. Take the time when your kids are eating to eat a warm meal yourself. Throughout the day drink enough water to stay hydrated. Just these two simple steps will boost your mood throughout the whole day!
Parenting was always hard , but this pandemic can make it feel impossible. Keeping in contact with your friends, family members, and providers is important and self care is a must. Grab your village and put your oxygen mask on FIRST because as the pillar of the family, no one works well without YOU.
Self-care may feel impossible to complete but while you have kids going to school in some type of remote way while you are working in another remote way, there are chances to squeeze in self-care. During these times, making self-care a priority while you are home is very important. Your village is even more important during this time, so remember that while you may not be able to see them face-to-face, there are other ways to keep in contact with them.
Melissa is a mother of a 17-month-old girl and is finishing up her Master of Social Work degree from the University of New Hampshire while completing an internship with YHAV. Melissa has worked with children, teens, young adults, and families over the course of the past four years.