A New Version of Self-Care During COVID-19

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new self-care

My kiddos have been home from school, as have all of yours, and social distancing has become a new part of our daily vocabulary due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In my home, we are struggling at times to find our “new normal,” and each night as I lay in bed, I contemplate how to make tomorrow just a bit better.

Let me tell you, there have been some epic fails over here. The stress we are all under is not merely about schools closing and kiddos being home. This is beyond what any of us imagined weeks ago. We are all grappling with loved ones working from home, others filling out unemployment documents online, non-essential businesses closing, the looming question of is it safe to head to the grocery store, and how best to protect our family.  

How can we continue to care for ourselves during this time?

As I question how to keep our house free from anxiety about the virus (almost impossible as each day we learn more), have online school run smoothly, (thank goodness for amazing teachers with the help of Zoom and FaceTime), I have realized that finding time to care for myself is of utmost importance. And FYI, it’s okay if you just learned this week what Zoom is… (sounds like a 1980’s early Saturday morning TV show).

So, what do we do while a loved one works in the other room, and kids are online learning during this social distancing and self- quarantined time? Well, mamas, we still need to find time for ourselves, but maybe we allow for flexibility and a new version of self-care will emerge. 

I am not an expert on this matter, but we all need to lean in on each other, and my hope is to help you find a way to continue to care for yourself while also taking care of the demands of motherhood. I offer these suggestions as advice, with the hope to help your day run more smoothly.

Mindfulness 

Set aside a time each day for yourself. This may mean waking up early before the rest of your house wakes up to just have a cup of coffee, put in a load of laundry, or meditate. Or maybe take a longer shower than usual as the kiddos watch a TV show. Take a nap or squeeze in time to regroup and feel refreshed, even if it’s only for five minutes.

Maybe with our new “flexible plan” mindfulness doesn’t have to be solitary, but rather include the kids. Teach them the benefit of quiet time, deep breathing, or include them in a yoga session that is live streaming. Many local libraries also offer audiobooks, so snuggle up on the couch under a cozy blanket with your kiddos and let your imagination take over as you delve into another world. Audible is also providing free stories. 

Exercise

With gyms, Pilates, and yoga studios closed, we once again need to be flexible with our exercise routines. I am someone who prefers to exercise alone on a run or walk but finding alone time these days is difficult. I have found one of two ways to be beneficial. Either I work out in the early morning before the house wakes up or while my girls are doing homework (mine are all teenagers, so they are independently working).

Many local gyms and personal trainers are also offering live-streaming classes or videos to watch at a later date, which can be done alone or with your kiddos. I personally saw a post on my local Facebook Parents page from a trainer offering ten free workout videos. I jumped right on this! Maybe now is the time to take advantage of the kindness of our neighbors while also promoting their small business and giving back at a later date.  

Walks with my family in the neighborhood or on a quiet country road, playing volleyball outside in the fresh air, and sometimes even just a walk to the mailbox provide me with the same fulfillment of self-care, if not more. I guess in the past week, it’s less about exercise and being alone and more about the shift to self-care through family time.

The alone time and self-care within the coming weeks, may be harder to find and often a struggle, but let’s remember and be honest with ourselves mamas… many of us were quietly dreaming of a simpler life with our kids before this all happened. Well, now we have it so let’s relish in it and find the good.

There is a blessing behind having our kiddos home for an extended amount of time. It allows for more family dinners, time to reconnect whether it’s on long walks, binge-watching Netflix, playing old-school board games, or just being in the comfort of our home together. Isn’t this really what we as parents long for? More time with our kids?

Let’s enjoy this time, as hard as it may be, for we realistically know that in the near future, the busyness of 2020 will once again be upon us, and we will be back to the front lines of parenting in this modern world.

So, mamas, take a moment for yourself daily, include your family in how you practice self-care, and breathe. We will get through this, it’s only a matter of time!

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Ali lives in New York with her four teenage daughters and her husband. After moving around a bit as a child, she spent her teen years in Westchester county, moved to NYC for college and returned to Westchester fifteen years ago. Prior to having the girls, she was an English teacher, and on the side always enjoyed writing with the hope to one day publish a poetry book. In her free time, Ali enjoys going on long runs, browsing independent bookstores, catching up with friends. She is in a constant state of doing laundry, cooking, policing arguments, driving to and from activities, and trying her best to be the kind of mom her girls will admire, even on her worst days. Ali is excited to share with you the joys and hardships of motherhood with an open heart. You can follow Ali on Facebook at https:www.facebook.com/hangintheremama/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/hang.in.there.mama