The last few weeks have brought a lot of change. Among sudden change often comes anxiety and feelings of overwhelm. Add in having to essentially homeschool your children, while maintaining a job, and little to no time for self-care and it can feel really easy to focus on the negative moments rather than the positive. During this difficult time, I encourage you as people and as parents to challenge yourself to consider, what is going well? How are you going to hold on to those moments for your loved ones and for yourself?
Notice the Little Things.
Maybe your daughter stayed in her room for 5 minutes longer this morning before waking you or your son took the garbage outside without you asking. Maybe your husband did a load of laundry that you’ve been glaring at for the past 2 days. These are the little moments that we need to hold on to. They will help us to feel better about our days, but only if we spend the time noticing them. So, when you see something positive, make sure you and the people around you know about it. Give credit where credit is due! By recognizing that your son independently helped you out, he knows that you noticed, it mattered to you, and as a result, he’s more likely to do it again. It also helps you to remember that your son was helpful today. These are the moments that are so easy to look past and miss, so challenge yourself to give them presence in your life. Praise matters to us all, no matter how small it is!
Write it Down.
Noticing the little things is important in the moment, but it is also important to extend these moments beyond each day. Start a gratitude journal sharing specific things each week that you appreciate, are grateful for, or noticed were positive. Make your list specific, linking it to particular people, events, and feelings. By spending the time writing down your positive experiences once or twice a week you can boost your own mood, support better sleep & physical health, build resiliency, strengthen relationships, and increase job satisfaction. On those days when you are feeling more down than up, you can flip through your journal to remind yourself of the more positive moments in your life. If you wrote them, they must be true!
Take Time for Yourself.
Being home with your family all day doesn’t mean that you need to spend 100% of your time together. In fact, it’s even more important to take time for yourself now. So, take a moment to remind yourself of what you enjoy most and organize your schedule to give yourself a few minutes alone each day. Try to abandon the all-or-nothing mentality of needing 30 or 60 minutes to make the activity worthwhile because 5 or 10 minutes of alone time to exercise, read, meditate, take a bath, or draw can actually make a big difference in your day. It gives you space for yourself in the midst of the hectic day, even if just for a moment. Even if that means your kids get a little extra screen time or you wake up a few minutes earlier, having alone time helps you to be a better parent, spouse, and friend to the others in your life. Communicate with your support system to let them know what you need and how they can help. They may be more willing to help than you realize, you just need to ask!
Self- Care Activities for Parents:
- Take a bath
- Read a chapter of your favorite book
- Do a 5-minute yoga flow
- Dance around the kitchen blasting music while you make dinner
- Have a glass of wine with a friend over FaceTime
- Take a 15-minute nap
- Call a friend to catch-up
- Sign up for a live-streamed exercise class
- Watch a music video
- Research a new recipe
- Give yourself a manicure
- Work on a puzzle
- Sign up for a webinar and watch 5-10 minutes per day