What does self-care look like for you?
Does it mean running to Target for 30 minutes alone while your partner watches the baby? Does it mean going out for coffee with a good friend to talk about your emotions? Does it mean visiting family members and sharing laughs with them over a delicious meal?
Self-care is different for everyone, and can look different throughout various stages of one’s life. Before having a baby my forms of self-care usually involved organizing my planner and getting a manicure. Now, as a mama, my self-care routine looks different and usually involves meditation, going to yoga, leaving the house for a while, or creating a sleep schedule. Self-care does not always have to be fun, and in fact can sometimes even be painful. Self-care is doing things that are good for us, even if they are uncomfortable or unpleasant.
With all of that being said, how are we to practice self-care during this time of quarantine? We are all home, unable to see family members or friends, have to fear going to the store or running out of masks… The list goes on. If you have children, you’re worried about their health, your health, the health of your partner, your parents, your in-laws, etc. Now more than ever is it important to practice true self-care, but what does that look like today?
This question has been on my mind for a few weeks now. I wanted to share what I, personally, have been doing to practice self-care that is both needed and productive for me. As I have said many times throughout different posts, I am not a healthcare professional in any sense of the word. I just know what works for me, and maybe some of these activities will work for you, too. Maybe they won’t. However, this is also a time that requires transparency and we should all be reaching out to help one another in any way that we can.
Go for a walk or run… alone
I am really into running. I run about 4-5 days a week. I always looked at running as a form of exercise only, but lately walking and running have been a good way to clear my head. Sometimes being a mother is overwhelming. I am not saying I do not love being a mother, but between teething, feedings, changing, and watching endless reruns of Sesame Street, I need a breather alone sometimes. Running has become a self-care activity for me.
Stop watching the news
It’s hard to just stop watching the news, but the only thing on the news right now is doom and gloom. While it is important to keep updated and be aware, sometimes taking a break is necessary for one’s mental health. I have resolved to only watching the news every other day for a few minutes just to keep aware of the new health trends surrounding the virus. Or, I look up a news source online that I trust and brief myself with the latest news and trends.
Disconnect from those who are not helping your mental health
There are many time when we just have to grin and bear it. However, there is nothing wrong with muting a conversation or respectfully stepping away during this time. With everything that is going on, sometimes it is better to just focus on one’s self and their immediate family. Also worrying about social obligations, frenemies, etc., can be too much to bear right now. Sometimes you need to step away from the coworker who keeps contradicting you in the group chat.
Meditate and focus on the “now”
Sometimes I find myself getting worked up and very anxious, worrying about the health and safety of our baby, my family, myself, etc. I find it very relaxing and super helpful to take a break, breathe, and remind myself of our current state. Thank God, we are healthy. Sometimes I have to remind myself of what is truly important, and reflecting on this helps me refocus.
Find a indoor hobby that you enjoy and that relaxes you
Since being quarantined, I have been cooking and baking in the kitchen like crazy. I have always enjoyed cooking and baking, but since they relax me and I genuinely enjoy those hobbies, I have been embracing them more while at home. (Not to mention, the kitchen is loaded with yummy snacks now!) Your indoor hobby does not have to be cooking or baking. Those are just two hobbies that I enjoy. You may find knitting relaxing, for instance.
Don’t beat yourself up for your quarantined eating or exercising habits
Dieting is hard enough! On top of it, let’s add being stuck in the house all day with an open pantry and no gym. Right now, if you need to eat the Oreos in the cabinet, go ahead. Am I advocating for unhealthy habits? No, not at all. But allowing one’s self to indulge in treats during a stressful time can sometimes make one feel better. But beyond that, don’t feel bad about indulging. Be kind to yourself.
Don’t feel bad about needing self-care!
This is the final and most important piece of self-care. Stop feeling bad for needing it. We are all human. We all need a break. And you know what? This is okay. Maybe you need to go for a walk, or need to just take a bubble bath alone without two screaming kids banging at the door while you drink a glass of wine. Maybe you need to watch your favorite movie. Whatever you need, don’t apologize for it.
How is everyone else practicing self-care during this time? I am eager to hear!