What do you picture when you hear the phrase self-care? For most people, self-care conjures images of indulgence like fancy vacations, champagne, and pricy spa treatments. Those images can be one form of self-care, but the fact that most people associate luxurious non-necessities with self-care demonstrates how we’ve allowed a marketing narrative to eclipse how important it is that we are truly checking in with ourselves and making sure we have what we need to keep going. True self-care is beyond what can be charged to a credit card.
I truly believe that in order to care for our families, maintain important relationships and careers, we need to make sure we are making time for replenishing ourselves. As the phrase goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Because I don’t like speaking only in generalities, we’ve assembled a guide on ways you can meaningfully care for yourself while caring for children amidst a global pandemic. I hope you find it enlightening and spend a few moments reflecting on how you can be kind to yourself today.
To your mental wealth,
With some gyms still closed, getting exercise may seem more challenging than it was pre-Covid, but try to think outside the box. You can go on a neighborhood walk or bike ride, download a yoga app or go swimming if you have access to a pool.
Create a “NO” list
We know that certain things can trigger stress immediately, and with our work and home lives overlapping more than they ever have before, it’s especially important to recognize what you find upsetting and plan around it. For example, you can decide to say no to bringing your phone to the dinner table or checking your work emails after 6 pm.
Schedule some time in your day to unwind and relax. Maybe you’d like to take a bubble bath or do some yoga.
Our phones are miraculous inventions that make it easier for us to do just about everything. But for a lot of people, they also bring a lot of stress. The news, texts from work, Facebook messages from family….it can be overwhelming sometimes. Take time to purposefully disconnect from your electronic devices and spend time in the present moment.
Journaling can include what happened that day and how you’re feeling or it can be a gratitude journal where you list whatever you’re thankful for. Taking a moment to reflect on what is going well for us can have an amazing impact on how we perceive our world.
Care for Your Body
It may sound elementary, but during times of stress, we need to make sure we are doing the basics. Get enough sleep, try to eat a balanced diet, get some physical activity, and maintain connections with some of your support.
Things to keep in mind about self-care:
- It isn’t selfish, it’s necessary! We must care for ourselves to be able to care for others.
- You should schedule time for your self-care. Come up with a time that is specifically blocked off for whatever self-care activity you enjoy, like a bath on Sunday nights.