I never imagined a year ago, that being quarantined at home, working and not working, along with kids doing distance learning, would still be happening a year later. I’m so over this and according to my Facebook feed, a lot parents are feeling the same way. I just read that 4 in 10 adults reported increased symptoms of anxiety and depression during the pandemic. That’s a lot of stress to handle while parenting, but it’s also wearing us down mentally and physically.
Unfortunately, we have more home time ahead, so I want to share some ideas for a mental health refresh for us and our kids.
Us first. We have to cut ourselves some slack. We’re experiencing a global pandemic. This is quite unique, a very big deal and enormously stressful on so many levels. Remember you’re not alone in this. And, this too shall pass, eventually. It really will. In the meantime, let’s think about how you can be kind to yourself.
- Give yourself tons of grace- When things get hard and you are feeling down, remind yourself, “This is my first global pandemic,” And, no one expects you to be good at something you are doing for the first time.
- Schedule time to take care of yourself- If you rely heavily on your phone calendar, pencil yourself in for some me time. Then, do something for yourself. Even if you only make it to your room, let yourself quarantine alone and undisturbed.
- Venture out for a ME treat- When you’re able to be out and about more; get a massage, haircut, facial, mani or pedi. Something that makes you feel cared for. Taking care of our bodies can bring much peace to our minds.
- Order in- Once in awhile, give yourself a break from meal planning and prep and order in. Choose a local restaurant and feel good about supporting a small business.
- Go for a drive- I have done this a few times over the past year. Drive to a local forest preserve, park or scenic overlook. Do it alone or with your spouse on quiet date. Or drive with no destination in mind and enjoy the silence. Changing your surroundings can do a lot to change your mindset.
- STOP watching the news!– Make a conscious effort to limit your exposure to the national news. They focus on reporting bad news. Change the station and watch something positive and uplifting instead.
- Try a new recipe– There is something therapeutic about cooking and baking, but even that is getting stretched thin because we’ve been at this so long. Make cooking interesting again by trying new recipes, follow a new food blogger, or master a new ingredient. We’re currently mastering all things zucchini.
- Learn something new- Our brains are wired to learn. Every day, we wake up with a bunch of new nerve cells (neurogenesis !) that are ready to be used. Research a favorite subject or something you have always been interested in and have never had the chance to discover! And you know I’m going to say, do some art! It’s never to late to learn.
- Enjoy some creative time – Carve out that precious Me time and make stuff. Whether its painting, drawing, woodworking, sewing or quilting, do what brings you joy. Don’t worry about what else needs to get done, spending time being creative will fuel you for what’s next.
- Connect with friends virtually- We need to be social. With other grown-ups ! Trivia night, morning coffee meet ups, paint and sips, drawing events, book clubs, etc., virtual meet ups are the way to see your favorite people when leaving the house is not an option.
- Hire a babysitter- Take some time to reconnect with your spouse or yourself. Go on a walk together, pick up some food and have a picnic (or eat in the car), go to the (drive-in?) movies.
- Plan for the future- We may be stuck at home right now, but this won’t last forever. Start thinking about your future adventures. Make a vision board- take this time to think about what you want your future to look like and create a visual to help you manifest those dreams. You have permission for it to be about you and your dreams.
- Leave it at the door- If you are out of the house for work and coming home to distance learning and stir-crazy kids, practice taking a moment to shift your mindset before crossing the threshold in your house.
- Set boundaries- Whether its’ a friend or family member who has a habit of sending anxiety provoking texts or emails, or your kids constantly needing more of you, it’s ok to hit the “Do Not Disturb” button until you’re ready to respond.
- Practice mindfulness meditation – There are so many demands in this stressful season, it can be enormously helpful to learn to quiet your mind. While it may seem impossible in our crazy busy homes, with practice you find your own inner peace.
Congratulations on making it through a year of this crazy and hang in there for the final stretch. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you’ve been doing to lighten the weight of this season. What are you doing to be kind to yourself?