By this point, you probably have heard of a stressor we are all dealing with called the coronavirus (COVID-19).
But seriously, everyone seems to be stressing about it, if you are directly affected or not. Whether you are worried about contracting the virus, preparing for potential quarantine or simply looking for some Purell, it would be helpful to take a step back.
There is only so much we can control in this situation (yes, wash your hands, but no need to stock up on toilet paper!). As with any other stressful situation, overall self-care becomes increasingly important, yet something that we tend to let fall by the wayside. It’s one of the few things we can continue to maintain control over, regardless of how this situation plays out.
So, as I have been sharing with my clients, I wanted to share a few self-care tips that will help get you through.
This is a great practice in just trying to slow things down a bit. Take a moment and try to just connect with yourself.
Close your eyes, take a few breaths in and out, and try to let go of anything you might be holding in. You can do this as a great way to start or end your day, or as a break when things start to get difficult.
You can practice deep breathing while your kids are watching a TV show or playing next to you for a few minutes, or even while waiting in the carpool line.
Journal about What You Are Grateful For
As busy parents, it is so easy to get caught up in the struggles of life and lose sight of the positive. It is so important to remember the things that we are grateful for and bring those to the forefront of our minds every once in a while.
Taking a little time to write down the positive in our lives will remind us of all of the wonderful things we have going on. Put them on Post-it Notes around the house as an easy pick-me-up when things might feel like more of a struggle.
Journal about What You Are Struggling With
OK, so I know this is the opposite of what I just suggested. But with how easy it is to get caught up in the negative, taking some time to write it down can be very cathartic.
I often suggest that clients do this and then close the journal and put it to the side. Kind of symbolic of letting go of their struggles, at least in the short-term. Also, sometimes putting things into writing and reflecting back on them later can allow you to look at the problem with a different lens, and perhaps find a solution you did not realize was there before.
Go on a Social Media Kindness Spree
We tend to be so connected to social media anyway, so why not take some time and share some positivity? Spend 10-20 leaving thoughtful comments on your friends’ news feeds. Let them know how cute the most recent picture of their kids is.
Congratulate someone one on a new accomplishment they posted about. Offer words of encouragement to a friend who might have shared a struggle they are going through. In the midst of everything going on, it is amazing how wonderful sharing a little kindness can make you feel.
Take the Long Way Home
This is one of my favorites that I always suggest to clients. If you are really feeling like you do not have the time or the means to do any other self-care practices on this list, here is one you can do!
Rather than rushing home, take the long way and allow the drive to be a little bit of self-care time. With the kids strapped in the car seat, you can take a little extra time for you. Enjoy a cup of coffee or listen to your favorite song. You can even stop in a parking lot and do a little deep breathing if the kids are quiet enough for you to enjoy this!
Jmore parenting columnist Talya Knable is a psychotherapist who lives in Lutherville with her husband, Stephen, and their two children, Jack and Leigh. Her website is tkpsych.com/. She is also the assistant clinical director of Shalom Tikvah (shalomtikvah.org/), a local non-profit organization that supports Jewish families facing mental illness and other challenging life circumstances.
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