Looking after yourself during a time of crisis is never going to be easy. Add kids into the mix and it gets a whole lot harder. Between making sure the kids are happy, the house isn’t like a bomb-site and there’s food in the cupboards, making time for yourself can be difficult. However, now more than ever, looking after yourself and prioritizing self-care is key to living through this current global moment, not just surviving.
1. Make time for yourself every morning
A simple act like moving your phone away from your bed and waking up to an alarm clock can make the world of difference to your mornings. It allows you time to wake up consciously without bombarding yourself with notifications, news alerts, and general cortisol-rising distractions. Instead, try spending the first hour of your day away from your phone. That could mean you have time to read a few pages of your book or do a quick morning stretch.
2. Structure’s key
Have you tried creating a structure for your kids, and within a day it’s fallen apart? Everyone has. While you know having the day planned can help you make space for yourself, but actually sticking to the plan is hard. It helps to keep it on show in your home so you can refer to it, as it can help keep the day on track – try using a chalk board or large wall planner.
3. Treat yourself to some retail therapy
For some that could mean splashing out on a new candle or a new video game, for others a new sweater will do. The key here is to do something that makes you happy. While you might not be able to get to the shops, you can still find pleasure in shopping, like choosing a comfortable new pair of jeans online.
4. Get outside
Behavioral therapists and academics have been preaching about the power of the outdoors, and it really does seem to be true. Some even call it ‘green therapy’, for the health benefits it brings. So, focus on getting into the great outdoors as much as you can – you may find that connecting with the outdoors, getting lost in the scenery, and enjoying all the sights and sounds can be a powerful act of self-care.
5. Recognise stressors
This is a difficult time for many, so remember to acknowledge the disorder that this pandemic may be bringing to your life. For some, ignoring what’s going on works, but it can cause stress to appear in other places! Giving yourself the space to feel your feelings and then move on can keep you grounded in this very turbulent time. So, consider writing down these stressors in a diary or telling them to your spouse or friend. Sharing your concerns can make them much easier to handle, and will help you feel more in control.
6. Stay connected
Depending on where you live, that could mean meeting a girlfriend for a walk outside, a video call to catch up with your bestie, or online gaming with a friend. Whatever it is, do it! Isolation (even if you are technically self-isolating) isn’t often conducive to happiness. So, keep up those conversations and reach out when you feel like you need to talk. No (wo)man is an island, folks.
7. Manage your stress
What chills you out? Do you like drawing, or coloring, or maybe gardening? If nothing springs to mind immediately, now is a great time to find your very own stress-reliever. The evenings, when the little ones are in bed, are a great time for finding your passion. If you find it hard to make time for yourself and what you enjoy, add it to your list for the day. You’ll be surprised how relaxing it can be to know you’ve got dedicated ‘you time’ later on in the day. Check out gaming, puzzles, or even knitting. Whatever makes you feel calmer and more relaxed.
8. Try mindfulness
Yes, this term’s been all the rage for a few years now, but for good reason! During these particularly stressful times, mindfulness is a great tool for centering yourself and feeling more settled. So, what is it? It’s a type of mindfulness that involves focusing on something and bringing your attention back if your mind wanders. While now may not be the right time to go out and throw yourself into group mindfulness classes, there are loads of brilliant apps that can guide you through the whole process, start to finish.
9. Get moving
Whether you like it or not, keeping your body moving is a brilliant act of self-care. Endorphins are free and make you feel great! Whether that’s walking, weekly yoga, or a quick Pilates class in between breakfast and school drop-off time. If your gyms are shut (or you didn’t much care for them anyway) you could check out one of the many brilliant apps that are out there. And if you’re looking for something more non-committal, there are loads of free workouts on YouTube to choose from.
10. Sleep easy
For some people, getting a full night’s sleep isn’t easy at the best of times. Throw in the stress of a global pandemic and many will be wide-eyed all through the night. We all know how important sleep is to feeling good, so ensuring you’re well-rested really is key. To make sure you’re getting enough shut-eye, here are some simple tips. First, implement a routine in the evenings to help yourself wind down. That could mean dimming the lights and avoiding looking at screens for an hour before sleep. Secondly, tune into your circadian rhythm and ensure that you’re sleeping and waking at the time that’s right for you.
So, hopefully, you found this list of tips and tricks helpful. While day-to-day life isn’t easy right now, it’s important to focus on your own health and wellbeing, as well as your family’s. So, enjoy your self-care!