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April 20, 2021

Self-Care For Parents: Pandemic Edition

self-care for parents during pandemic

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More than a year into the pandemic and most of us are exhausted! Between taking care of kids, working remotely, and trying to figure out how to venture out into the world safely, our lives have changed in ways we never foresaw. Something else we haven’t seen is the time for self-care.

What is self-care?

Self-care is anything you can do for yourself that makes you healthier or happier. It comes in many forms, from handling the symptoms of diseases to making healthy lifestyle choices, such as not smoking or avoiding alcohol in excess. The decisions we make each day feed or starve our self-care efforts. Fortunately, despite busy schedules and lingering uncertainties about COVID-19, there are many ways to care for yourself as a parent that will not put you or your children at risk of coming into contact with the virus.

Simple Self-Care Strategies

Self-care does not have to be difficult, time-consuming, or expensive. Here are some tips on how to work a few health and happiness-inducing habits into your schedule:

  • Sleep. When you’re busy chasing children around, you tend to put off housework and other chores until nighttime. But there is plenty of evidence to suggest that sleep plays a crucial role in our physical and mental health. Make sleep a priority, and trick yourself into falling asleep faster by sleeping on a mattress that matches your sleep style, turning the temperature down, and having a snack about four hours before bedtime.

  • Exercise. Exercise is just as important as sleep for your health. Take the kids for a walk, run around the backyard and play, or bring in a babysitter a few times each week so that you can join a fitness class or simply enjoy a safe (and socially distanced) stroll through the neighborhood with your closest neighbors.

  • Clothing. What you wear can affect how you feel. If you’re not comfortable, you may struggle to do simple, everyday activities. Choose to look and feel your very best by wearing stylish clothing that doesn't restrict your movements. Things like leggings, bathrobes, and sports bras may not be ideal for the board room, but they are perfect when you have little ones constantly climbing in and out of your lap.

  • Treats. Treats don’t necessarily have to be sweet, although a snickerdoodle every now and then never hurts anyone. Make a point to treat yourself and your family to something nice every once in a while. This could be something as simple as a pan of homemade brownies to a more extravagant indulgence like an in-home catered dinner. Keep in mind here, however, that sugary items should be kept to a minimum. Northwest Primary Care explains that refined sugars may exacerbate anxiety.

  • Home. If you and your family are not yet ready to venture out into the world, bring the world to you. Make changes to your home that help you feel as though you’re on a permanent vacation. An outdoor kitchen, trampoline, or even an above-ground swimming pool will all encourage family time, exposure to the sunshine, and physical activity.

While self-care may feel like an elusive objective, trust that it is not. No matter how many children or other obligations you have, you have to put yourself first sometimes. This doesn’t mean you have to block out your entire calendar to focus on yourself — just that you make choices that fuel your well-being. Small actions, like buying a few pieces of comfortable clothing and allowing sleep to take precedence over chores will make a world of difference.

self-care for parents pandemic edition

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