We may not all be infected with the dreaded COVID-19 virus, but we sure are affected mentally and emotionally (and for some of us physically as well as we have doubled down on cooking and cleaning in the past few weeks).
For mums, self-care is often the last thing on our minds. As a mum of six, I can attest to that. To be brutally honest, sometimes it doesn’t even make my list. The struggle is real.
But I have learnt that self-care is not an option for us. It is one of the most pivotal things that we can do for ourselves, especially in our virus-stricken times.
Whether you’re working from home or staying at home this period, caring for ourselves in small ways each day can help us last over the long haul. Conversely, dismissing our own needs can be make us irritable, fatigued, stressed and prone to a full-blown meltdown.
Here are 6 self-care strategies that may help tide you over this crisis:
1. Keep fit and active
Some of us may be confined to a small room or to our homes, but thankfully fitness videos on YouTube are aplenty. Regular exercise has helped me improve my stamina, circulation and overall energy levels. Pick what is right for your fitness level and start somewhere.
Pro-tip: Integrate your activity with your kid’s routines if you can. It’s more fun for the kids to join in what mummy is doing, plus they get to vent their boundless energy! You can:
- Play a workout video and follow along
- Play indoor volleyball with your kids with a balloon
- Sneak in some crunches or jumping jacks and squats when your kids are napping or while your husband takes them
- Put on dance music and rock it together with your kids
2. Develop a care ritual
Don’t be sucked into mum-guilt when we set aside time to decompress for the day. Instead treat it as important as your three meals, and factor it into your everyday routine.
For some, it could mean getting up in the early morning to have a quiet breakfast and a cuppa. For others, it could look like setting aside 30 minutes an afternoon to journal.
My husband and I agreed that he would take charge of the children’s bedtime routines. Every night, after a long day at work, they look to their father to put them to bed and wind down with him. This habit has developed over the years. I then take that time to catch up on the things I’ve shelved through the course of the day. It’s definitely something I look forward to every day!
Don’t be sucked into mum-guilt when we set aside time to decompress for the day.
3. Eat well and invest in your health
Presentation matters. I remember feeling very underwhelmed having to finish my kid’s leftovers when they were younger. Do what it takes to have a pleasant meal where possible. Having pretty crockery helps!
At a time like this, it is even more important to eat well and be mindful of what you put into your body. Indulge in whole foods like grains, nuts, lean meats, fresh fruits and plenty of veggies. Drinking plenty of water and nourishing soups can also help us to keep well hydrated and build immunity against diseases.
Now that we are all #StayingHome, we can take some time to have virtual coffee with the people we love.
4. Cultivate your close circle
One very effective way of caring for ourselves and making sure our emotional tanks are full is to stay connected with your close circle of friends. These are the people who love you, support you and build you up, no matter what.
It could be your spouse, a sibling or a few close lady friends. We may not be able to meet face-to-face now, but we can chat via Whatsapp, Facetime, or even Zoom. Now that we are all #StayingHome, we can take some time to have virtual coffee with the people we love.
I can’t emphasise how it has helped my sanity to be able to text close friends and rant about my frustrations, knowing my thoughts are in a safe place and that I won’t be judged. I’m convinced that we were never meant to do life on our own.
The daily news can get pretty overwhelming and depressing when we scroll through our news feeds for updates on the number of infections and new clusters in Singapore. The constant bombardment of bad news can take a toll on us if we don’t know how to put a limit on the news we receive and when we receive it.
Avoid catching up on the news just before bedtime as it may unsettle our nerves. After all, a cheerful heart IS good medicine! We need a mix of good news and positive vibes to help us stay mentally strong through this period so do unplug intentionally, and remind your older kids to do the same.
6. Prioritise sleep
Sleep makes us all better people in general. It is essential to our optimal functioning, strengthens our immune system and helps to improve our sense of well-being.
Not only do we have more energy, it helps us think better, make more sensible choices, and respond to others rather than react. Let’s not skimp on sleep, put in our requisite hours and turn in early where possible.
- Set up a virtual coffee date with a good friend next week
© 2020 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.
Dear Mums, when you take time to care for yourself, you will be in a better position to care for your loved ones. Take A Moment for yourself, and discover ways to S.L.O.W. down and rest at www.family.org.sg/mothersday.
We are here for you. Get more content to fortify your relationships in this COVID-19 season.
Share this article with someone you care for today, and you might encourage them in their journey. Click here to share on WhatsApp Mobile instantly.