Self-Care for Parents – Back to School
By Tracey Dowdy
I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but 2020 has been a wild ride. It sometimes seems like we haven’t had time to catch our breath before the sky begins to fall again. Self-care has always been important, but perhaps never more so than in 2020. It’s also probably never felt more impossible.
It’s why flight attendants tell you to put your mask on first in an airline emergency. You can’t take care of someone else if you’re gasping for breath. Yet, across the country, kids are going back to school on campus, and online, offices and workplaces are re-opening, and everyone is trying to find their new normal. How on earth is there time to care for oneself when you’re wearing so many hats?
Coming out of quarantine, depression, anger, and confusion are all possible due to the loss of connection with others, making self-care even more critical. Implementing a few simple changes to your routine can clear your head, refresh your spirit, and equip to save the world once again.
In the words of the great Gloria Estefan, get on your feet! The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of movement per week, which is just over 20 minutes a day. Have a dance party with your kids, grab a quick walk around the block or do some yoga before anyone else is up. YouTube and the Google Play and App store each have tons of free workouts if you need something more structured to get you moving.
Not many things are better for your mental health than taking a break from social media. Simply putting down your phone and engaging in real-world conversation, making eye contact, and including physical touch boosts your serotonin levels. Create boundaries for when you are online and be sure to get your information from reputable sources like the CDC, WHO, and local health department.
Taking a few minutes a day to meditate or pray can help align your mind and put you in the right mindset to face the challenges of your day. If prayer and meditation aren’t your thing, read something inspirational, savor a cup of tea, do a breathing exercise, or unwind in a relaxing bath. All provide the same mood-boosting benefits.
Despite the fact we’re all still social distancing, it’s never been more important to stay connected. Be intentional about creating virtual hangouts with your friends and play games, host a Netflix party or an online book club.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.