Over the past few months we have all been stretched and squeezed into a new form of “normal”. For me, balancing working from home, raising children, and setting aside time for myself has been a challenge. Here are 5 self-care tips that have helped me stay grounded:
1) Make Time for Yourself
Right now, much of the personal time that was part of daily routines — commutes, time alone at home or at the store, social time with friends — is not available for us. Without it, we have to be intentional about creating space to recharge and decompress. Be sure to set aside time to decompress in your own way.
2) Prioritize Healthy Choices
The added stress and lack of structure we’re all experiencing can make it easy to slip into habits that feel good in the moment but can be detrimental in the long term. This doesn’t mean pressuring yourself to get into tip-top shape, or not eating ice cream or binging your favorite shows. It does mean being thoughtful and intentional about how you’re treating yourself and your body.
3) Be Realistic
Avoid burnout by setting realistic expectations and giving yourself grace if you can’t meet them. Practice forgiveness and self-compassion. Cut yourself some slack.
4) Set Boundaries
Anxiety is rampant right now. With so much worry and uncertainty floating around it can be easy to absorb other people’s fears and concerns without even realizing it. If you have a friend or family member who’s in the habit of sending worst-case-scenario news or is prone to sending anxiety-provoking text messages, practice a little emotional distancing. Let them know you sympathize but that you’re taking a break from worrying news, or simply hit the Do Not Disturb button. You can always reconnect when things are calmer.
5) Reconnect with Things You Enjoy
Think proactively of things you can do with this enforced time at home. Get back in touch with hobbies or activities you enjoy but rarely have time for, or make the choice to learn a new skill. Maybe there’s a knitting project you’ve always wanted to try, but you’ve been too busy. Or you’ve been meaning to learn how to needlepoint. Maybe you love jigsaw puzzles but with rushing between work and home and caring for kids, it’s been years since you had the time to do one. If young children make solo activities unrealistic, seek out activities you can enjoy together, like baking bread, or making art.
Remember, being kind to yourself will not only help you stay calm, it will help ensure that you have the bandwidth you need to take good care of your family. When you’re running on fumes, caring for others can tax your already depleted resources to a breaking point. When you prioritize your needs you’ll be in a position to offer comfort and care to others when they need it most.