Whether you’re a new parent or your youngest child is preparing to graduate high school, the effects of COVID-19 are complicating day-to-day life. A year of everyday life, plus the added layers of managing physical distancing, virtual learning and some people working from home means many parents are feeling pressure as they keep everything running smoothly while juggling child care and longer hours at work. That’s why making time for self-care is even more important than it was pre-pandemic. Self-care helps to manage stress and benefit your mental health – consider it as a journey that begins with small steps towards long-term mental wellbeing.
Creating your self-care plan is personal, and the ways you choose to decompress shouldn’t feel like more work, so it’s important to think about some activities that you enjoy doing and will make your life easier. To help you get started, we’ve gathered some tips and inspiration to help you no matter where you are on your self-care journey as a parent:
- Strengthen your spaces. Part of the reason people (and parents, specifically) may feel stressed or burnt out at home is the organization of the spaces you spend most of your time. This is different from a space being clean. Ask yourself, does the space support your self-care efforts? When you step into the room do you feel relaxed? Getting rid of clutter and items that don’t promote a calm atmosphere are easy ways to create inviting spaces to take moment to yourself.
- Make your mornings mindful. We can’t stress the importance of having a routine enough, but if your routine isn’t working or is causing you more stress, then change it. Before you jump into your to-do list, take a few minutes to practice gratitude, journaling or stretch. Even two to three minutes can make a difference in your mood and perspective.
- Stay connected. This may seem easier said than done, especially with kids around, but try to lean on your social support network. Your friends and loved ones want to support you, and chances are they could use someone to talk to as well. Schedule some time to pick up the phone or have a quick Zoom chat to catch up, vent and share — with or without the kids. Putting it on the calendar will ensure that you stick to it!
- Remember that you matter. Losing yourself in the commotion of being a parent happens, but it’s helpful to remember that you’re allowed to have time strictly for yourself. You should do things that you’ve always enjoyed doing or have always wanted to try. If you need some inspiration, check out this list.
Juggling all of the responsibilities that come with being a parent during this unprecedented time earns you some applause. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone is doing the best they can. You deserve to take care of yourself too.
For more tips on how you can create your self-care plan, check out some of our other blogs:
- Self-care: Take Care of Your Mental Health During COVID-19
- Tips to Practice Self-care as a Family
- Five Tips to Help You Practice Self-love
- Beach, Lisa. (2017). 6 Simple Self-Care Ideas for Busy Moms. Parents.com, January 24, 2017. https://www.parents.com/parenting/moms/healthy-mom/6-simple-self-care-ideas-for-busy-moms/.
- Gallagher, Hayley. (2020). 7 Easy Self-Care Strategies for Busy Parents. The Centered Parent, October 21, 2020. http://thecenteredparent.com/7-easy-self-care-strategies-for-busy-parents/.
- Medeiros, Madison. (2018). 25 Actually Doable Hobbies for Stay-at-Home Parents. SheKnows, May 29, 2018. https://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/1007717/25-hobbies-for-the-stay-at-home-mom/.
- Mental Health First Aid USA. (2020). Mental Health First Aid USA for Adults Assisting Adults. Washington, DC: National Council for Behavioral Health.
- Scott, Elizabeth. (2020). Why Self Care Can Help You Manage Stress. Verywell Mind, November 24, 2020. https://www.verywellmind.com/importance-of-self-care-for-health-stress-management-3144704.